I was so excited for the Colorado classic. I have never had the chance to race with a team before. It was going to be a fun four days of racing while also getting to make new friends along the way. On of the big concerns with Colorado was the altitude. I wanted to go into this race and not think about that. I really focused on racing hard and not making excuses just because of the altitude. Everybody struggled with it, but I was here to race, not concentrate on the lack of oxygen in the air.
Day 1: I was not very excited for this stage. It should have suited me with punchy climbs and long decent but there was one section that changed the whole course-the DIRT HILL! Many riders have developed on both road and dirt. However, I am very road specific and dislike any other type of riding surface. It was definitely a hard race. I did not start off well which gave me a disadvantage on lap 1. Luckily, I made up time on the decent and caught back on to the group. This ended up being how every lap went. I would get dropped on the dirt hill and then chase my way back on. Once I knew that I was able to get back on, I made it my mission to do it every lap. I was disheartening to get dropped on lap 1 and then 2,3 and 4 but i never let it stop me from racing back onto the peloton. By lap 4, I was exhausted. I was able to barely make the connection for the last time and once the final push for the finish came I was not able to stay on. I solo’d in for a decent finish.
Day 2: I have not trained for the TT at all. It just has not been my focus this year and so, I went out there and gave it my all. The consistent uphill made for a tricky TT. I tried to pace myself but unfortunately went out too hard and “popped’ at 2K. I placed middle of the group but got by with a safe TT and prepared myself for the crib the next day.
Day 3: The crit! I walked in thinking this was going to be just another fast crit, but it ended up being a parking lot slip-n-slide with a 180 degree turn going into the finishing straight. It was a hard race. Every turn was taken slower than necessary due to the conditions. If you were in the back, you were braking hard into the turn and accelerating out just to keep from getting dropped. I was “machine-washed’ through the group many times. It was a lot of work if you were sitting in the back. Lap after ap, I somehow made it through and we finally had approximately six laps to go. Unfortunately, a crash going around the u-turn took me out. I went down to the pit trying not to let my nerves get to me…of course they did. They group was coming around. This was the first time I ever had to “get back into the race” after a crash. All I could think about was how fast they must be going and how I was standing completely still. The official began counting down: 3…2…1..GO! I pedaled as fast as I could knowing that they were moving. After they race, I actually ended up finding out I set a new 5 second maximum power. I tried sitting in for the rest fo the race, but with three laps to go, a decision present itself in front of me. The national champion rolled by me and I got on her wheel moving to the front, but to my right, I watched the Rally sprint train start lining up. In the moment, I decided to go with the move from the National Champ. I later regretted that when she stopped on the back stretch and the peloton came rolling by us. I was tired and ended up just trying to finish the race. I, once again, was just mid pack.
Day 4: I had decided to focus on just getting through the race with no mishaps. I was a fast, somewhat flat circuit race. Lap 1 was hard. I was in the back for most of the lap. Laps 2 and 3 went by like a flash of light. I barely remember what I did and where I was but soon we were heading into the final lap. I worked on moving up and was position relatively well going into the finish. Unfortunately the real sprinters had taken off by the time we reached the finals stretch, but being a bike racer, I sprinted. I tried passing as many people as I could just to know I gave it my all.
While my overall result may have not have been the best. I came to the Colorado Classic to gain experience and feel what it was like to be a part of a team. The Amy D. Foundation showed me what it felt like to race with a team and not just as an individual. The five other women I raced with were amazing individuals, but we came together and they were what made this an unforgettable experience which I would not have had with the wonderful people who form this organization.