Field: about 40 Cat 1/2/3/4 women
Length: 35mi race, 5laps

The course was the same as last Saturday when I crashed in the last 2 miles. It was a 7mi loop with some rollers. Wind played a big factor during the race.

When we started the race at 9am, my only expectation was not to crash. I met another racer, Kate, the day before and we planned to make the race more interesting, attacking, break away, whatever, just no easy race.
And soon enough, half a lap into the race, she attacked the field and strung it out. After about twenty seconds she sat up and let the field come back. Since I played this acceleration-stopping game way too much in the past weeks, I decided to just keep going and I passed Kate.

I didn’t really attack but only kept the speed up ever so slightly. When I looked back I had a tiny gap. This time (compared to Wolfpack), instead of wasting time looking back constantly I just gave everything I had for the next few minutes.

When I finally looked back I saw the peloton a few hundred meters behind me. They could catch me any minute but I thought, they’ll at least have to work harder to get me. So I kept drilling and finished the first lap alone in the front, maybe five seconds ahead of the field.

Starting the second lap, I pushed the pedals hard. Two girls from Headstrong bridged up to me and we immediately started working together. One of the girls was not as strong so we slowed down for her on the uphill. When we still saw the peloton chasing us after a hard five minute effort, one of the girls said that we wouldn’t make the break stick and we should just ease up.

However, I didn’t want to make it so easy for the field to catch us and convinced them to keep going so we kept working hard. Still in the second lap, the weaker Headstrong girl couldn’t hold our wheels anymore and told us to go ahead, she would wait for the peloton.

So it was only Giselle and I. Giselle, Cat 1, was a very strong rider, especially on the flats. She pulled major parts of lap 2 and 3, especially during the headwind sections.

On lap three, the motor ref drove up to us and told us we had a minute on the peloton. Not too bad but not enough to slow down so we rode on full power. If the peloton catches us the race would have been over for me. This was going to be a long anaerobic threshold workout.

When we started lap four, I seemed to pull sixty percent. The ref told us that we were a 1:30min ahead of the field so that was at least a good sign – we gained time. However, a minute later, the ref told us we were only a minute ahead. How in the world did we just lose so much time in such a short period of time? That made me nervous so I pulled even harder.
We only had one more lap to go; it would just suck to get caught after being in a breakaway for 25 miles.

Going into the fifth and final lap, I pulled most of time, more worried about getting caught than about a sprint finish against Giselle. So finally, after a ridiculous cross-eyed ride, we approached the 1k mark which was at a little hill.

I rode the hill faster, my attempt to “attack” but Giselle was right there so I kept pulling but swayed from side to side. Nothing worked; I couldn’t get rid of her. So the 200m mark came and I started sprinting. At 100m, she got me and passed and won. Second it was.

In the past few weeks, I got great advice on how to breakaway; however, I never asked how to actually win from a break. Again lesson learned. Although, I’d rather have won, I was happy how the race worked out. It was a tough race and I left everything on the course.

In the news: http://carolinacyclingnews.com/2011/02/27/greenville-spring-training-series-donaldson-center/