I had an amazing weekend of racing at Philly. Sadly, due to my knee injury, my training has been delayed about a month and I had to skip the first two weeks of racing; I was both excited and anxious coming into the Philly weekend because I can finally start racing, but I wasn’t sure how fit I was.
Saturday TTT was not so ideal except for the result. Our car (Stef, Martha, Ali and I) got lost on the way to the course and other cars also arriving late; my team didn’t get to warm up or preride the course. Despite the poor preparation, team Martha pushed big gears on the flat section of the course and almost caught up to the 30sec team, Yale by the time we hit the final climb. I was feeling pretty tired and painful but managed to keep up with Martha and Stef on the final climb, but unfortunately we dropped Zuzka. When we were about to go through the roundabout to make our way to the finishing stretch, Stef yelled “Mechanical!!” as she dropped her chain. Luckily though, Stef managed to fix the chain and we sprinted to the finish line to win the race by about 10sec. Ok, that was painful, but it’s always nice to win a race.
Women’s A/B circuit race had about 30 racers and that was the largest collegiate race I have done in years! The course had a relatively long hill in the middle and a short one before the finish. First lap, Martha set the pace on the climb and dropped everyone except for Anna and I. At the top of the hill, three of us formed a break which seemed like the usual women’s A style, but Anna refused to work and I wasn’t much of a help to drive the pace, the break was quickly caught by the pack. Second lap, Stef attacked up the hill and gained a few seconds on the pack, but she was caught on the descent. On the third lap, Martha attacked up the hill when Anna was still hanging out in the back of the pack. Since Anna chased Martha, I got on Anna’s wheel and again we almost formed a break of three at the top of the hill. Although I was with them when we were almost at the top of the hill, I felt pretty tired and I finally gapped Anna’s wheel. They slipped away from me and that was it; they were gone. I decided to sit up to wait for the pack and prepare for the finish. Fourth lap was quite easy until when Zuzka attacked about 1k to go on the flat section and quickly, the pack was moving fast in a single file formation. Penn state riders chased Zuzka and they finally caught up to her at the bottom of the last climb, where I attacked. After couple of hard pedal strokes, I looked back to see if anyone was on my wheel, but I didn’t see anyone. I kept going hard all the way up the climb and got a descent gap. But I didn’t realize that I was still quite far away from the finish line; I was going as hard as I can and hoping no one will catch me. In the end, I won the sprint to the line and got third place by a second or so. I enjoyed the race and was really happy how it ended as well.
Sunday’s crit was another exciting race; Martha attacking the pack for the primes and other riders also attacking left and right. I was quite conservative and didn’t participate in the primes for the most part. I also kept a good position in the pack to minimize my energy expenditure. The course was short and had 6 corners, making it really technical so staying in top 5 actually saves you energy quite a bit. Coming into the final laps, it looked like we were going to have a pack finish. Before the race, Martha and I discussed if it’s a pack finish, she would give me a leadout. So, I got onto her wheel 2 laps to go and when we passed the finish line one lap to go, I told Martha to go hard and she gave me a perfect leadout during the final lap. She was so fast that no one could come around us. I took the final corner behind Martha, and I was at the ideal position to sprint to the finish. In the end, I took second to Martha and I was very happy with the result. Martha was mad that I didn’t sprint around her, but I thought if no one is coming around us, she deserves to win it more than I do. Overall, I was really happy with my performance this weekend and I hope that good results will keep coming. I also enjoyed being with my team mates and this weekend reminded me why I love racing with the team so much!