Reflections on Missouri crit

October 22, 2008

This report is a long time coming. While at Nationals, I got an invite from Michael Engleman to race Tour of Missouri women's criterium. Since then, I moved back to college where I finally had a chance to sit down and take a breath... ironic.

Tour of Missouri was a lot of things for me: a confidence booster, new, scary, learning experience. Looking at the list of pre-registered riders, I was intimidated to say the least. I thought for sure I was going to fly to Missouri for a 55 minute race and get dropped. Despite intimidation, I was stoked for the race... and the whole experience. No matter how many times Michael Engleman assured me this race wasn't a test, it felt like one. And it wasn't like a stage race where if you have a bad day, there's always have tomorrow to ride stronger – no, this was just an hour. So I set a couple goals for the race: I wanted to race my bike, not just sit on the back, intimidated, waiting for everybody else to make their move.

I got to Kansas City a little later than scheduled... I forgot my phone in the car, had to take the bus around the loop again, missing my flight. But I made it along with my bike, so all was good. I was set up with host housing for the weekend. After a long sleep, I went out for a short ride. Coming from 100 degree weather in California, I really wasn't expecting to get rained on. Being new to all this, I'm not used to flying then jumping on the bike – my legs felt terrible. I've learned that things don't always work out ideally; you have to adapt and do your best with the given situation. I had been sick for over a week and wasn't really on the downhill side yet. That contributed to how I felt, but I had a couple days to rest before the race.

The night before the race I woke up to the loudest thunderstorm I've been in. I remember when I was little I would count seconds between the thunder and lightening and that was supposed to be how many miles away the storm was. This storm lacked any time between the thunder and lightening! I had the feeling it might be a little wet the next day.

Thankfully the weather cleared up a bit in the morning. Michael and I got to the course early so I would have plenty of time to warm up. My legs didn't feel all that great, but like Michael said, if your legs feel bad, it doesn't mean anything; if your legs feel good, they'll feel good for the race... As far as being sick, I couldn't really breathe too well, but Michael assured me I wouldn't notice it during the race...

The course was a one-kilometre flat, eight corners. I liked the course, the pavement was perfect. The field was pretty small, less than 50 women. It was great having Michael Engleman there helping me out before and during the race. I had never raced with a radio before, and it was great to hear what Michael suggested each lap around. I was so excited to start racing.

I like fast, hard racing and this one promised to be just that. Keeping my goal in mind: I wanted to be in some of the moves and I was. There was continual attacking by the big teams represented, Colavita, Cheerwine and Aarons. No attacks stuck and it came to a bunch sprint. I was holding good position until about two laps to go... when it matters. The last two laps I was towards the back. My last time around the pit where Michael was, I got some garbled message that ended with something like "you should probably move up." I finished in the middle of the pack, but regardless, I was happy. I had accomplished my goal, I raced.

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Follow the program's young female cyclists as they embark on their journey to the top of the pro ranks

The US Women's Cycling Development program was founded by former pro rider, Michael Engleman, as a way to help promising young women cyclists reach their full potential as athletes.

The dedicated and well spoken women of this program provide thoughtful, compelling and sometimes hilarious anecdotes of their experiences in this diary. For further reading about the program, visit the USWCDP website.