Collegiate reflection

Missy Erickson looks back on her freshman year

The collegiate season has come to a close. After 10 days of track, six days of mountain biking, four months in a cast, and two and a half months of road racing, my freshman year of college is complete. Too many first experiences to chalk up and so many amazing people I have met. And way too many crashes.

Not only have I never crashed in a race before the collegiate season, but also I had never raced in a field of 80 people. The Collegiate National Criterium was the race for me. Flat, fast, eight Corners. It was my kind of race, until the two laps to go card.

We took the left, left and on that right corner it still amazes me how, in the fight for position, some will do anything - even if it means to take a chance and hit a curb. It’s one of those things that happen in slow-motion and you look to your right and see the girl hitting the ground in front of you and to the left there is a stack of 10 rides wide, not willing to move. But that’s racing. You crash. You burn. You cry. You learn.

It’s just not supposed to happen at the biggest collegiate race in the season.

The race was memorable, no matter what happened: it was my 19th birthday, May 9, 2009. Starting the race I got great position, right on the front line. As everyone lined up and they said the race announcements, Dave Towle, was lovely enough to wish me a happy birthday and then we were off. The race began. I road the race in perfect position, all day, except for a strange point where I got dropped. I’m not exactly sure what was going on, but the next lap I was back in the front, riding sixth wheel. The race was 15 minutes longer than our conference races, but that just meant 15 more minutes of fun.

I think you all know the feeling of knowing you are going to crash, but there’s nothing you can do about it, in one of the races where you were destined to do well. One of those races when you had the legs, but when you get within those five laps to the finish and there’s nothing you can do to get back in the race. Yes, I had that feeling from head to toe.

I made it out with a tumor growing out of my elbow and a concussion. I did finish the race, riding the last two laps through the finish line for 42nd place.

The next day we had the Team Time Trial. Coming out of the RMCCC Finals our women’s TTT won by 1:51, which we were really excited about. The morning was raining: my kind of day, if only the headache and nausea would go away.

Warming up the team was excited. Ready to get out there and ride hard. Sabina Kraushaar, Emma Millar, Sarah Sturm, and myself comprised of the FLC Women’s TTT. It’s great to have a team of friends. We ride strong together, communicate well, and even when one of us has a concussion, we oblige to pull them around for seven miles, just to get to that finish line together. Our TTT finished seventh overall. We were disappointed, but in reality, we did what we could with what we had at that time.

Our entire women’s team, Tina Dominic, Sarah Sturm, Sabina Kraushaar, Emma Millar, and myself, raced hard all weekend. We raced hard all year, from track season to road season.

Now it’s summer time. Time for a new season. Time for new experiences, and to meet new people. Until next September, when collegiate starts all over again.

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