What better way to kick off the road season than flying the red and white colours of the new Trek Red Truck jerseys, riding on some stealthy bikes rippin’ the gravel at Jeremy’s Roubaix on a sunny, warm Sunday afternoon.
The first race of the season is a good opportunity to see where you are at after some long hard winter training months. Coming off the track I could tell you before hand this race would be hard, this 75km road race being my longest time in the saddle since my California training camp in January. The rest of the team looking a little golden after spending five days under the California sun, getting big miles under their belt in preparation for the upcoming season the previous weekend.
We used Jeremy’s Roubaix as an opportunity to assess our fitness and team dynamics. We had a loose plan going to the start line, either I would be the designated girl for the sprint with the others leading out if it came down to a bunch sprint or we would try and get a few of us up the road. Being the biggest team their we had the advantage, using each other to counter each other. Attack after attack. The first three laps went by slowly, everyone getting settled in and then watching like hawks to see who would make the first move. Michelle made a brilliant attack, resulting in Anika’s counter to stick. Rachael Canning close behind opened a gap, which stuck out till the end. Anika took her rightful place on the top step after a strong five laps in the break.
Still four of us in the pack at this point we wanted the initial gap to open giving Anika the best chance possible to stay away, it wasn't until about lap five when our group became more dynamic, many attacks with little success. There were small gaps made but we controlled the front like a wave of red. three laps to go and I could feel the lactic acid building in my legs, unable to stand up to respond to attacks I was just trying to stay in the top few to try and control the race, Michele, Anna and Holly covering all the moves making sure no one else could get away. After a big dig the group split and Holly separated from the group, there were three Red truck girls left. At the end of lap seven Anna and Michele did a final attack splitting the group to just four of us, two riders from TaG, one from Pender and me. The TaG girls stuck on the front the whole last lap, this was a great opportunity to prepare for the sprint. The last corner was gnarly, a hairpin going from the dyke onto grass and mud connecting to the pavement. My line was off even though I was first to the corner, this mistake cost me third, a gap opened with the Pender rider and she secured a spot on the podium.
Everyone worked very well together considering it was our first race as a team, We are all looking forward to the season ahead of us.