Course: 9 mile loop with lots of turns and 1 very steep 1 minute climb, 87 miles, 6,500ft elevation gain, hot and humid
Velo Classic p/b Stan’s NoTubes had a squad of 5 riders for pronats: myself, BrittLee Bowman, Cassie Maxemenko, Tate Devlin, and Clio Dinan. We all pre-rode the course the day before and discovered the exorbitant amount of potholes, cracks, and road furniture all over the course. Thank the gods for 25mm IRC Formula tires and the ability to run low pressure with my Alpha 340 ZTR Stan’s NoTubes wheels. Although the road race was 87 miles, I think the promoters secretly wanted it to be a very long criterium with the amount of turns, short and steep climbs/descents, and technicality on a short loop. Luckily, I love criteriums and I had been riding ‘millions’ of base miles.
Blastoff. Attack after attack after attack. There were groups off the front, and then they were brought back. Then there were more riders off the front, and then they were brought back. This was quite an exciting race for both racers and spectators. Riders were shed off the back every lap, mostly from the steep WOmanly rd climb.
Knowing it was going to be long and hot race, I drank what I like to call pre-race margaritas all day long the day before (lemonade+salt). Most riders appeared to be dipped in a salt bath and then dried off with a hair dryer by the looks of their kits covered in waves of white salty sweat. I distinctly remember Coryn Rivera in her white and blue UnitedHealthCare kit appeared to have foamy waves painted all over her. You could tell by the looks on their faces that riders were cramping left and right. I know several riders had to stop and brace themselves on barricades to not completely fall off their bikes from seized muscles (check out the livestream for proof. Nina Laughlin from Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling hit the wall during her breakaway and had to stop on the side of the road). It became a race of attrition with ~50 riders finishing out of 90 starters. I was psyched to have made it to that final selection and finish 43/90.
Anecdote: ~1 lap to go I was riding along in the pack watching moves when all of a sudden I felt a hand on the inside of my thigh near the tip of my saddle. Perplexed I looked at the hand and saw that it was attached to Allie Dragoo. I believe it was intended to be a pat on the butt, but I slid back more quickly than she anticipated and her hand made its way to a more intimate position. Who knows, maybe it was a warning for me to join her in her immediately subsequent attack off the front.