Before we knew it Dave and I were back on the road to Cincinnati for more UCI experience. We missed Friday’s race due to work obligations, but split up the drive between Friday night and Saturday morning. I thought I was prepared for typical fall cross weather with all kinds of warmers, layers and was shocked to find the temps in the mid-80’s and rising! I stayed in the shade and cheered Dave on in his race. He started on the last row behind a LOT of people and was able to make up roughly half the field, so that was good! In those huge races, if you start at the back, the leaders are totally out of reach by the first turn…
I really enjoyed the Java Johnny’s course; it was at a smaller park and the promoters were pretty creative in using every inch of available space. I was nearly the last call-up, but had a really great start and stayed with the second chase group through the first half of the race. After that I started to get completely fried by the heat and was dropped. The course was incredibly dusty and though the dust really hurt, my breathing wasn’t affected worse than anyone else’s. I lost several spots to finish in 18th, but I was happy to finish. This race was still an improvement over my first USGP’s but it hurt much more and I felt pretty dazed. I watched Tristan and Brian tear it up in the men’s field, while I developed chills and dove even deeper into the pain cave just sitting there…it was pretty awful.
After dinner and a lot of sleep and water, I woke up feeling like a new person. We got a quick breakfast, cleaned our kits and headed straight to registration at Harbin Park. Dave’s UCI license is pending and the 2/3’s field had closed online; he was on the waiting list but luckily squeezed in at #92. I threw a cage and bottle on my bike, watched him avoid some spectacular crashes and make up around 50 spots!
It was much hotter on Sunday and the Elite women’s field was super deep with over 30 riders! I had a terrible position on the grid at the very, very back and got stuck behind everyone at the first turn. I stayed calm, rode hard and picked up one place after another. I got into a very strong group and hung on as long as I could. My group eventually splintered and I rode with another rider for the rest of the race. We tried to work together, but were never able to make up enough time on the people ahead of us.
I loved this course–even with the sun beating down on almost all of it! My nose strip started to slide off with all the sweat, making me look silly (prompting lots of heckling from the Bob’s Red Mill Louisville guys!) and ruining an otherwise great picture from Lyne Lamoureux/Podium Insight:
I actually had an offer for a nose strip hand-up, and regretfully, I declined!
From 29th at the start I finished in 16th–just a few seconds off my first UCI points. The race kept replaying in my head and right away I knew exactly where I could have gotten at least that spot, but that’s learning. For the first time this season I felt like I was actually in the race, and that I belong with this field…No one gives up places and I am determined to keep moving up.
The UCI3 weekend was very well-organized and I’d love to do it again next year..definitely recommend putting it on the calendar! I will always have a soft spot for Wisconsin and was really proud of the super strong showings from Wisconsinites Kaitie, Ashley, Tristan, and Brian! way to represent.
Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill, the Louisville contingent and Dave for cheering and heckling louder than anyone else! Looking forward to enjoying the bangin’ fall colors, mountain bike trails in Pisgah this weekend and USGP round two next week!