The last sanctioned race of the 2018 calendar, White Ribbon Criterium was on Sunday. I had unfinished business with this race – last year, there was a massive crash on the final lap and we didn’t get to do our sprint as part of the race. So this year it was all about finishing what was started.
Well, my friends, don’t I have a tale of heartbreak for you today. I felt so good leading up to Sunday – I’d ridden a strong race at the women’s Lifecycle crit a couple of weeks beforehand, hit all my training targets in the week of, and generally just felt super pumped about it. Last race of the year and last race before I gallivant off to stuff my face with croissants in Germany. The points would have meant nothing to me – they wouldn’t have been enough to bump me a grade, but the victory would have been sweet enough.
I’ve already ruined the ending, but let me tell you the tale anyway. The clouds were looking pretty ominous all day, and 5 minutes into our race they finally burst their seams and just turned the crit track into a swimming pool.
The race had started off at a decent clip – we were sub 2 minutes for every lap of the 1.2km course so averaging roughly 38kph each lap. My tactic had been to drive the pace from the beginning to shell as many of the girls as possible, and it seemed this sentiment was shared with a few other girls in my field who pulled decent turns with me and kept the pace high. We put in a few attacks but none that stuck, and once the rain started there were no more daring attacks to be done.
It didn’t take long for the course to feel like some sort of sadistic waterboarding exercise, suddenly being on the front of the group felt like reprieve as you were able to take breaths of air without also inhaling a gutful of dirt and water.
With a few minutes and the 2 laps to go, the Mens Masters B grade flew past us and one of the girls took the opportunity to put in an attack (which is actually illegal but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that she had no idea what she was doing) and this led to the rest of the race being spent chasing her down.
One other girl and I rolled the turns and put in the work, trying desperately to peel off and get the other girls to put in but when nobody else ran the gauntlet, it was either throw our races too or chase and hope we still had legs for the sprint.
We ended up catching the renegade attacker on the final lap, only to have completely gassed ourselves and be busted for the sprint. Of course, the clingers that were riding their Sunday ride sailed past us with fresh legs to claim their victory.
Ok, enough cattiness now. I’ll try and play nice. I came off the field upset and frustrated, but today I’m somewhat at peace. Myself and a few other girls raced a hard race, and fought hard every lap and we should be proud of that. Tim also tells me we did end up spitting a few of the women out the back so the tactic did work somewhat. My goal of the day was to see if I could bury myself, and I did. It didn’t get me a result, but I still know I worked hard.
Last year and the start of this year was somewhat of an anti-climax for me, with my racing progress being cut short for a 6 month period while I got treatment and had surgery for a rank illness. If I needed any sort of motivation to get up and get riding each morning, I certainly have it now. What happened on Sunday has only made me hungrier and more determined to hit the next season aggressive and ready.
Peace out, kids.