After a solid first week at work, I spent my first day off at the Tennessee state series race in Kingsport. The course will be the same as the UCI race in January and it was a ton of fun! There was not much climbing at all, but lots of off-camber twisty sections mixed with very fast power sections. Much to my surprise and excitement there was a flyover (I had never seen one before)!
The weather seemed promising for rain, but it held off. I lined up not knowing anyone in my field or what to expect from them. Just as I finally felt like I was really getting to know everyone in the midwest, we moved away! However, my mind is sometimes my biggest obstacle; I usually do better when I turn it off, don’t put expectations or limitations on myself and just ride my bike. This was one of those days and I got the holeshot, which I kept up and over the flyover…
…and somehow, throughout the entire race! I kept my pace high but manageable, as I was afraid of more breathing problems. The lady in second place began to close the gap on the fast sections, but I could recover and pull away in the technical parts. The men ahead of me motivated me to keep pushing, bridge to and pass them. I pretended that they were women. I have never led a race completely start to finish and didn’t want to psyche myself out!
The women were strong and second place was still too close for comfort. I pushed it harder in the last third of the race to try and extend the gap. I didn’t want to take any chances and on the last lap no one was around and I won! The start to this season has actually been very mentally challenging for me and I was able to gain a lot from this experience.
The promoters did an excellent job and I certainly hope I can make it to more of their races. Everyone was really nice and I was happy to meet the other racers. As always, Dave was incredibly supportive and it was awesome to have him around on the course. I was more pleased that he finally returned to racing too!