In our race, the Cat 4 / 40+ race, we held the majority with 4 Hellians mounted up. The pace was steady at the start, as the women looked around for who was gonna drive the pace. My teammate, OC, took the lead and amped it up a notch for most of a lap and the field settled in behind her. Feeling jazzed, I pulled up in front of her to take a pull and dry and drop some riders.
We came across the front and took the turn up the hill and, as I looked around for the first time, I saw that the only person with me was Teresa Moriarty! I had only meant to speed things up, not break away. But there was no time to explain, so we charged up the hill and kept going. A little while later, Teresa looked back at me and asked if I wanted to wait for my teammate and i said sure. We let off the gas and waited for the OC, but to my surprise, it was Swigs in hot pursuit.
We had a pretty rough lookin' pace line goin but we kept the speed up and the gap continued to grow. Unfortunately, something I'd eaten that day wasn't playing nice, and I spent a couple laps dry-heaving over my shoulder on the backside of the course. Luckily, Teresa's an awesome teacher and mentor, and helped me get my heart rate and breathing under control so we wouldn't lose our breakaway. With 4 laps to go, I was fully recovered and loving the fact that the field was no longer in sight.
As we neared the final laps the light drizzle began to accumulate and made the final turn a little slick. Ready and hungy for the final sprint, I dove into the final turn on Teresa's wheel, only to feel my own wheel slide out from under me, pulling me in slow-mo to the curb on the far side of the road. Luckily, my good ole Vitorria's grabbed some road and I regained control. Unfortunately, though, it was not enough to hold off my compatriots. I finished 3rd in the sprint, but 2nd in my category!!! What a finish!!! I've never done so well at Northfield before - I'm usually the lapped rider out there. Yuk. It felt so great!
So very great indeed, my brain shut down and rolled to the start line for the Women's Open race as well. I had no intention of trying to compete with these women - MN's Best of the Best. But, I knew it would be great practice and training for the next one. Sure enough, by the 2nd lap, I was flying solo. Lucky for me, with only 12 in our field, the officials were nice enough not to pull me as I got lapped. I rode as hard as I could for some 28 laps, but was fortunate enough to be joined by Bonnie "Turbo" Donzella after a hard effort.
Lap after lap, we got in a rotation and kept the tempo up til the finish. My favorite part about riding with the veteran ladies is the wealth of information they have to share! Both of my races that day made me a better rider, either by how to take care of myself, breathing, cornering, to climbing. Thank you so much Bonnie & Teresa!!! I am so honored to get to learn from you!
Fallin' in love with the Pain Cave,