It was a cold and rainy morning up at Crystal Mountain, the leaves were falling and it was one of those days where you wished you were still crawled up in bed listening to the rain hitting the window. The first battle of the day was figuring out what to wear; for me it’s a a huge balancing act between not being too hot and not freezing my limbs off. I decided to go with a base layer top, full length leggings on bottom, my shorts, my jersey, and my wind vest, it was probably the best combination I have made, it was perfect.
All the beginner women were called to the start line and I just kept telling myself that my goal was to get as close to the front of the pack from the start as possible and to stay there. Luckily I got a great place on the start line and I think that was one of the main reasons for bringing home the win. The announcer counted us down and we were off. I clipped in and went for it.
As the race progressed I was expecting to hear the breathing of the other riders behind me, but to my surprise that didn’t happen right away. It was a huge adrenaline rush and I kept thinking “You can do this… you could actually win”. Right after I thought that I hit a line of the beginner men… a frustrated moan exited my mouth (no offense to the men!!! I just wanted to go faster!). A few minutes passed and I started to hear the deep breaths of a few women behind me. A few feet ahead there was an opening and I figured that would have been my only time to make a move. Before I could pass the men a woman behind me passed and I followed. It felt like a race between who could pass people the fastest for the next 10-15 minutes. After several miles of an undulating pace we turned out of the woods and hit a gravel road. We had about 5 kilometers left and I didn’t want the possibility of losing the race dependent on me not attacking on the road, so I stood up, hit my gears, and road as fast as I could. It paid off. The next thing I knew I saw the 2 kilometer sign, then the 1 kilometer sign, and then the finish line. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I crossed the line and met my mom who was all smiles with her arms open wide, “you’re the first woman!” I stared for a few seconds and then the victory face emerged.
And just for good measure here’s a before the race pic: