Beanpot Race Weekend – Tufts Crit – Women’s 1/2/3/4

Despite temperatures that were a bit chilly, this was going to be a fun day with clear blue skies and a technical crit in our own backyard on the Tufts campus. It was also going to be the first time the ladies of GLV would be racing together, which made me very excited about this race.

Our main strategy was to drive the pace early so we could drop a few of the less technically skilled women. We ended up driving the pace for about 4 laps, which had indeed reduced the group at the front, and were trying to get the Farm Team Elite ladies to help in the pace setting. Then, during a bit of a lull on the finishing stretch and of course Julie Tracy (Farm Team) attacked. My teammate Regina tried to close it, but when I saw she couldn’t quite make it, I jumped first to her wheel and then jumped past to try chasing down Julie. I took turn 2 quite a bit faster than Julie did, so I was almost at her wheel already, without too much effort. By the next turn I was on her wheel and we already had a bit of a gap. She kept driving, and I took over at the bottom of the hill. We quickly settled into a rhythm of switching each lap, towards the top of the hill or on the finishing straightaway. The false flat and the wind made that stretch pretty tiring, but after that we’d hit the downhill for a bit of recovery, which allowed driving through the rest of the lap.

Women's podiumThanks to the presence of our respective teammates there was no doubt in my mind that this break was going to stick as long as we worked together. After a few laps we got an update on the gap: 30 seconds! Not bad. We had already started lapping people at that point, and after another few laps we heard that the gap was up to 1 minute! The thought of maybe being able to lap the whole field crossed my mind at that point, but our race had been shortened due to an unfortunate crash in the first lap, which stopped the race for quite some time. So I didn’t think we would have enough time to make this happen.

As the bell for the final lap rang, I drove at the front, and I saw the rest of field ahead of us. Maybe this is possible after all! I started pushing a little bit harder then I normally would have, took turn 2 quickly and we made contact with the group. I was very happy to see Gina at the front of the group, so I quickly slid behind her and asked her to start driving as fast as she could for as long as she could so she could be my lead-out. Everyone else seemed to be somewhat confused by what was going on, so we immediately had a gap. I looked back a couple of times and saw a pink Farm Team jersey, but wasn’t sure whether it was my fellow escapee or someone else. We attacked the hill for the final time, and when I looked back I felt like the gap was big enough that I could make it on my own.

So I jumped off of Gina’s wheel, crested the hill and started hammering as hard as I could. The little bit of rest and I’m sure the extra shot of adrenaline released by all this excitement ensured that I felt no tiredness in my legs. I looked back about halfway through to the finish line and I was completely clear! I kept pushing, was still a little freaked out by the stupid cobblestone crosswalks and hoped I wouldn’t go down just before the finish. None of that happened, so we got our first TEAM WIN of the season!