A few weekends ago I raced in the women’s Cat 4 criterium in Grand Rapids and what a learning experience it was. I felt like a little green fish swimming in a sea of pink!
The race was sponsored by Real Women Tri which meant they had a large amount of women racing (hence my comment about feeling swarmed by ladies in pink.) But luckily I wasn’t alone; Katie Whidden and Marie Dersham also raced with me that day and it turned out to be a great result for Team Priority Health with Marie landing a place on the podium! Since the race was only for 30 minutes it started off fast and didn’t let up.
After a little bit of a shaky start, thanks to cornering a little too quickly, I found myself glued to Katie’s wheel. Before the race Katie and Marie were discussing tactics and we decided that the best time to attack the field would be after the $100 prime lap, because we were hoping everyone would sit up and cruise for a little bit. Well, that didn’t exactly happen. The bell was rung notifying us about the $100 dollar prime except Katie and myself didn’t hear it. So as the field fought for the prime we got caught in the speed. A few laps later we all got told that there were 2 laps to go. At first I was surprised because 1) the race went by a lot quicker than I thought it would and 2) we never got the chance to attack!
This is where my frustration comes in. It was the last lap and I had managed to win myself a spot close to the front on the inside, can’t complain about that, right? Well, the last corner came and as I cornered I got cut straight off, screeched to a virtual stop and found myself having to try and make up an immense gap. I’m sure this has happened to people before and I’m sure they were just as frustrated as I was, but after the race I just couldn’t get over what had happened.
The lesson I learned that day was that anything can happen in a criterium and you just have to do as best as you can with the obstacles that are put in front of you.