We headed out to the Yale race course, competing for the title of “King of the Mountain.” They advertised their ITT and the end of the circuit race as a terrifying, steep, long hill. Yuri said that it wasn’t really a hill, but upon arriving, it certainly looked like one to me!
ITT: The individual time trial was a 4.2 mile course, winding around a park and some neighborhoods for the first few miles then climbing up to the top of the “mountain” for the finish. Luckily, the hill wasn’t very steep at all, though it was a bit long. I raced in the Women’s C category this weekend, and the field was quite large for women – 40 racers! We left at 15 second intervals, and until we reached the hill, I only passed one girl; I felt tired all week and was resigned to a somewhat mediocre race, since I’ve never been very good at hills. However, upon starting the climb, my weekly hill repeats began to kick in, and I passed five more riders before the top to take second place overall. I liked the time trial, since it reminds me more of a triathlon (blasphemy, I know), with no one to compete against except my own pace.
Circuit: The circuit race consisted of several ~3 mile loops with minimal hills, followed by the mountain to the finish. At the beginning, I got up into a good position near the front, and we basically had a rotating paceline of the first ~5 riders for most of the race. There were two strong Yale girls, and two UVM girls, so occasionally they would pick up the pace or try to break away, but overall the first 3 laps were fairly uneventful except for one big crash (behind me, thank goodness) that took down around 8 women and forced some of our other MIT riders to slow down for a while. On the last lap, we picked up the pace, and upon starting the hill only had the strongest/luckiest riders remaining close by. One girl attacked, and I stayed with her, while the others fell slightly behind so we were all pretty strung out. I was climbing and thinking “Wow, this is great, I’m going to get second in a hill climb! Awesome, I’ve never been very good at hills!” And then I looked over and realized that the girl next to me looked like she was about to die, based on how hard she was breathing…so, I broke away, about 400 meters from the finish, and sprinted through to get first. It was very fun to actually win a race, and made me REALLY glad I’ve been working so hard on hills recently.
Crit: Sunday morning I woke up with burning, exhausted legs. Great. However, after a long warmup, I felt ok again. Kristen, Katie, Liz and I were all entering the crit together, so we decided to try to work together, if possible. Upon stepping into the second row of the starting line, the girl in front of me turned around and said, “So, you’re the KOM? Or QOM, I guess.” It took my MIT mind a while to understand the acronym, but yes, I was the “King of the Mountain” from the previous day (and I won a jersey!!!). Uh-oh…now I couldn’t pretend to be weak and say “Does someone else want to lead right here? I’m not very fast on the uphills…” – verbatim what I said during the circuit race. So that was how the race went, with girls being much more aggressive than before, attacking frequently, and trying to box me in so I couldn’t catch up again. It was exhausting, and my first C crit. I couldn’t ever tell which laps were primes and once sprinted for something that wasn’t actually one. Liz and Katie both did well in some of them, though, and Liz broke away very nicely once. By the end, I thought it was just going to come down to a huge pack sprint and I would die because I was so tired. Luckily, some of the other girls sped up immensely during the last couple of corners, so it got was more spread out before the final stretch. It took me a while to get the energy to stand up and sprint, but I did pretty well in the downhill finish and got second (behind the same girl who outsprinted me in my first Intro crit). Kristen passed a ridiculous number of riders in the sprint and ended up in 8th, which I thought was pretty cool, and Liz came in 6th. Added to Yuri’s win and Martha’s 2nd in the Women’s A, we basically dominated.
Very fun weekend, and congrats to everyone who raced!