Grant's Tomb W3/4

It’s mid-March and time for the first race of the season and the first official road race for the newly-formed Green Line Velo women’s road squad. Friday night was #Getinthevan time, and with the rainy weather predicted for Saturday I wanted to make sure my drivetrain was nice and clean and freshly lubed. I also mounted some new Schwalbe One race tires and light tubes on my race wheels. Wow, the bike feels nice and light without that damn fender and with some light wheels! Hopefully light also means fast.

Natasja on the podium-- Grant's Tomb W3-4Although the W3/4 field had a decent pre-reg, at the start line it turned out that quite a few of the women had opted out of racing in the rainy conditions. The rain was actually kind of fun, since it wasn’t cold at all with the proper foot & hand protection and a good base layer, so it’s a shame we had a small field. The Stan’s No Tubes women were best represented with three and Rockstar with two women. Everyone else was on their own. Stan’s also had the strongest women in the field, so I was planning on keeping my eye on them. We started with a neutral lap, which was a bit odd, and then we were off. Rockstar were the first to attack, but it wasn’t really dangerous. There were a few other attacks, but nothing got any real chance. I tried a couple of times to place an attack or go with one, but it became pretty clear that the Stan’s girls were not keen to let me go. Once we started to get closer to the end of the race, I had made my peace that I wasn’t going to get a breakaway. Stan’s wanted a sprint, so I was making sure no one else was going to get away either, and also started planning for the end of the race. Stan’s was likely going to drive the pace to launch the sprint and my plan was to jump on their train and see what would happen. The last few laps I tried to stay in 3rd-4th place and save the legs. 

The bell rang for the last lap, and the pace started to go up a bit more. A few more fun turns, trying to ride momentum up the last hill to save energy and then onto the last turn nicely positioned in 3rd place. Not long after the last turn into the finishing straight, the sprint started unfolding already. I was passed by a couple of girls, came out of the saddle to start my sprint and was back into 4th place, sat back down and hammered seated to get back into 3rd place. Back out of the saddle for the final push, moved towards 2nd place, passed her, she starts yelling at her teammate in 1st place, the finish line is getting closer and I don’t think I have enough space to make it passed the final girl. I went for it anyway and slowly reeled her in. When I looked to my right at the finish line I was half a wheel ahead of her! 

Thanks to Kyle Butler for the video of the finishing sprint and the cheers, which I didn’t hear at all. Everything seemed to move in slow motion, but it looked like we were actually going pretty fast. Excited about the rest of the season!