The women’s team had a great weekend of racing taking 7 of 12 available podium spots over four stages, winning three group races, and taking 3rd and 4th in GC. Many sport psychology books suggest journaling about race experiences and noting the positives and negatives from a race. The key is to address the negatives, and celebrate the positives. To help us celebrate the positives I would like to share seven of our takeaways from the weekend.
1. When you hit Everett, listen to 103.7 FM.
The art of the road trip is a special thing. You need the vehicle temperature set just right, GPS on, an assortment of snacks and hydration options, just the right amount of blankets and pillows to maximize comfort, and of course, you need awesome tunes. Just as our car was beginning to dread the, what we thought, was another three hours of driving we were saved by all of our favourite hits from the early 2000’s! Well, at least two of us were…it turns out that unless you were born in the late 80’s/early 90’s you probably don’t have the same memories of these songs, or may not even know them! (Sorry Anna, but I hope our terrible singing along with the trips down memory lane still entertained you!) I should also take this moment to draw your attention to the second item on the list of boxes to check for an epic road-trip, the GPS. It is, as it turns out, vital to use a GPS not dependent on cell reception. Risk of using a cellphone GPS include driving a few extra hours, but the upside is beautiful scenery and forced team bonding.
2. A home-cooked meal truly is the best way to prepare for a stage race
After a LONG drive from Vancouver to Waitsburg, WA the women’s team earned a new appreciation for a home-cooked meal. We pulled into a driveway set amongst beautiful rolling hills and were greeted by our lovely hosts John and Dina. We were more than welcomed into your home, so thank you!
3. Teamwork really does make the dream work
For those a little less familiar with bike racing, it truly is a team sport. It’s rare that someone crosses the finish line first without the hard-work of their teammates, and I can now confirm that after many hard efforts when your teammate crosses the line first, you share that winning feeling. The women’s team had our work cut out for us after the time trial stage. We had to make up around one minute and forty seconds to claim the overall win, a challenging thing to do on courses without any big climbs. We were the biggest team in the race so we made the call that we would race hard, launching attack after attack until something stuck. Special shout-out to Callie who in stage two was riding in a 2-rider break for 75% of the race.
4. Having strong teammates doesn’t make the racing easier
I used to dread criterium races because I always knew in advance that they would be hard. The bigger teams launch attacks, the peloton chases the attack, and then just when you think you might get a moment to catch your breath, another attack is launched. Well, for some reason I thought crits might be easier as a member of one of the strong teams…turns out that it’s actually the opposite! For starters, attacking is tiring, and when your attack sticks for a longer period of time it’s even more tiring. Then if you’re in the peloton, chasing counter-attacks is tiring, and then sprinting for primes is again, tiring. So in summary, the stronger your teammates are, the stronger you need to ride to support them. You might be more tired, but you’re also going to have some serious fun!
5. There’s never a good time for a flat
So briefly back to the whole attacking in a crit is tiring thing, well, I had the special opportunity of attacking and then getting a flat about 30 seconds later. Now you’re probably thinking, that’s not all bad, Isabella got a free lap to rest and then get pushed back into the race. Kind of? Getting off the bike after having just done a max effort to then jog my bike to the wheel pit was a struggle, but I was pretty stoked to see BG (Brian Green) waiting for me in the wheel pit as I arrived. He swapped out my front wheel, reminded me to take deep breaths, and then a few moments later I was being pushed back into the race, ready for my next attack.
6. Primes are awesome
When you’re new to a sport there’s always moments for first, and after spending most of last year slightly too scared to contest a sprint for a prime I was determined to change that this year. And Success! I won not only one, but three primes in the crit and our team collected all but one of the primes.
7. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
Despite not win the overall general classification, we did win all of the stages post time-trial. Special shout-outs to Holly for winning her first elite women’s road race on Sunday, and to Michele for winning her first elite women’s crit on Saturday!
Thank you to everyone who helped put on such a well organized and fun stage race. Thank you to BG for on site support, Leah for race plans, and to all of the sponsors who make sure the Trek Red Truck Racing team is set-up for success.