1. Teamwork makes the dreamwork
For the first 5 days of racing, our Pro12 squad consisted of the dynamic duo: myself and Clio Dinan.
At the beginning, Clio and I agreed to be proactive in the races by making moves and taking risks. We wanted to make the races fast, hard, and exciting for spectators. We busted out several attacks, countered other attacks and primes, covered attacks, strung out the field, and generally made it a hard race on the first day. These are all examples of positive racing. Negative racing is when racers race conservatively trying to do the least amount of work. During the race, negative racers do not use their energy to attack as well as try to stop other attacks from happening or staying away. This is a type of racing which we strive to prevent. Despite our squad consisting of a mere 2 riders, we both wanted to be aggressive and positive. On day 1 our efforts landed me in 4th place!
Day 3: Willow Springs road race consisted of 12 laps of a 3.8 mile course. The course included 2 short climbs and an incredibly long straightaway to the finish. Thank you's are in order for Chicago Women’s Elite Cycling. They provided us with feeds for our squad. I hope the ice water I dumped down Daphne Karagianis’ back and helmet made up for me taking 2 bottles during this hot and steamy race.
Breaks were attempted, breaks were brought back, breaks were attempted, breaks were brought back. Racers pushed the pace up the climb, no one dropped off. Figuring out how to win this race other than a good position for the sprint finish was tricky. With 4 laps to go I attacked and stayed away with 1 other rider for less than 1 mile. We were caught and I sat on the front. Just after we were caught Clio busted out an attack and no one followed her. And then no one chased her. And then no one tried to get her back. And then she TT’d for the remaining ~4 laps and won the race!! Courage, proactive racing, determination, and teamwork were the ingredients necessary to take this victory.
-Wake up and feel like $1,000,000 every day after sleeping for 9-11 hours
-ride with Clio for 45 minutes at an easy pace
-do activities that require very little movement: take naps, read books, foam roll, stretch, paint nails, listen to books on tape, organize finances, make food, eat lunch
-get ready for race
-pay at least $5 in tolls anytime we went anywhere in Chicago
-drive back or eat dinner at race
-do activities that require very little movement: watch the tour de france, watch all the other movies your partner/boyfriend refuses to watch with you, foam roll, stretch
-sleep some more
2. Holding onto 4th place overall for the entire week
4th place in the overalls spoke to my consistency in the races throughout the week. I realize this is just off of the podium but I am proud of myself for taking home this result and racing consistently in the top 10, and top 20 at the least, all week long. Also thanks to Clio for being a kickass teammate.
With 2 crit series under the leg bands of my skinsuit (because there are no pockets in my skinsuits), USA Crits Speedweek + Tour of America’s Dairyland, I applied all of my acquired skills to these races. As my first season racing at the National level (races outside of local Ohio races), I believe this result is a testament to the work and reflection I have put in this season.
ALSO: I had a callup every day for the entire week (except day 1) which helped in the starts and made me feel special.
3. Fricking Tolls
Chicago, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, why are there so many tolls?!
4. Experiencing Chicago
I have spent a good amount of time in Chicago previous to this trip: Pitchfork music festival in 2010, a wedding and cyclocross winter vaca in 2013, other cyclocross races, fun time visits.
On Monday, Rest Day #1, Clio and I attended the Coffee Shop ride at Intelligentsia Coffee in Logan’s Square. Unfortunately riding on the organized coffee shop ride meant sprinting out of every stop light with a pack of 20 juniors, so we opted to ride around the city at a more agreeable easy spin pace. Annie, one of the owners of BFF bikes, became our tour guide and spent the next 2 hours leading us through the scenic bike paths of Chicago. Thanks, Annie!
Other activities in Chicago during our of days consisted of coffee shopping, beaching, going to see Finding Dory and crying at least 5 times in the movie theatre, going out to eat, and having fun driving in Chicago rush hour in giant thunderstorms with our phones screaming at us about flood warnings.
5. Chicago Crits, Technical and not as flat as you’d think
Despite the fact that Chicago is known for being flat and windy, 5 out of the 8 courses had climbs. My personal favorite course was on day 2, Tour of Glen Ellyn, which consisted of 2 short steep power climbs and depending on how you ride it, 12-15 turns!! This course flowed like the best single-track sick bermed PNW/New Zealand/British Columbia no brakes trail you’ve ever shredded. As this week progressed I found my comfort shredzone in these technical turny power punchy climby courses.