I find myself to be a stronger rider when it comes to longer distances, hence why I have previously mentioned that crits aren’t ususally my best events, so when my teammate Roz sent us a BikeReg page to a road/circuit race that happened to be on a day I had off from work, I was pretty stoked. For those of you not familiar with types of racing, crits are short quick laps, usually between 30mins to an hour long for women, while circuit races are also laps they are much larger laps, and therefore longer overall races. This particular one was five laps, for a total of 40 kilometers (25-ish miles).
This was the first race I have ever registered for that none of my teammates were racing, luckily I knew a few other ladies on other teams, so I got in touch with the amazing Sam Fox from QCW to drive up to Brownstown with. The forecast wasn’t looking great, but on our bright and early drive up to Lancaster County the rain held off, and after staying dry while getting our numbers on and warming up, I was feeling optimistic that it would stay that way. Oh man, was I wrong.
This race was a category 3/4 , and I am a cat 4, so I was a little nervous racing against some cat 3’s (because of riders like Sam Fox, that girl is FAST), and I still kind of feel like a beginner to racing. As soon as we line up the rain starts, I’m nervous, but after chatting up some of the other racers, I realize I am not alone in my experience level. As we get started, the pace is pretty quick, and I stick in the back for the first two laps, just trying to conserve as much as possible while still sticking with the pack, while also getting SOAKED by the pouring rain and dirty water getting kicked back from the wheels in front of me.
By lap three, there were some gaps starting to form in the field, with a few girls struggling to keep the pace, so I move up towards the front. This is also when I realize that a few girls have broken off the front, including Sam Fox, Evelyn Korbich of Team ESP/CSS, and Annie Monjar with WomenBikePHL Devo Team.
For the last few laps I’m in the front of the pack taking pulls along with several of the women from Sturdy Girls Cycling and a few others. We caught up to Annie; however Evelyn and Sam held their gaps. The rain had stopped for a little bit during lap four, but already soaked through with rain, street dirt, and probably horse poop (I mean, we were in Amish country) it didn’t make much of a helpful difference.
Lap five and I’m excitingly still in the pack, but my legs are getting real sleepy and it has started raining again. Time to do an internal pep talk, a reminder to keep my legs spinning, I AM strong enough to keep up with these women, and most importantly, the fast I can finish this, the faster I can take of my shoes, which at this point are completely full of water.
We get to the final little punch of a climb, maybe 100 yards from the finish line, and everyone is still sitting down in their saddles, so I shift down, stand up and hammer it. I cross the line a few seconds before the rest of the women, landing me on the podium in third place! With Sam Fox in first, with a gap of almost four minutes in front of Evelyn Korbich, who was just under a minute ahead of the rest of us. I told you that girl is fast, and I was super honored to share a podium with her. Oh, and the cash prize wasn’t too bad either! But let me tell you, the best part of the day was 100% getting home and being able to take a shower.