The USGP openers fall on the weekend after an already hectic week, making it 5 races in 9 days for me, starting the season with a huge BANG! The USGP crew really has the series dialed. It is ran so well. I started my visit to Wisconsin with a visit to a grade school with my teammate, Kathy Sherwin to talk to 120+ 3rd and 4th graders. Unfortunately I didn't have time to pick up a bike, but they had great questions and made me realize really how obscure this sport can really seem to an outsider. To make my weekend even better, I had 2 of my siblings, my mom, my niece and nephews and my brothers girlfriend and her family come to cheer. It's a 4 hour drive, so an effort to get there. I also stay with a friend from college and Tim races too. It is a packed full weekend.
With Tim racing at 11:15, we had to get there early. And I got to pit for Tim, Tim pitted for Eirik and both Tim and Eirik pitted for me. Quite the system. Not to mention, the Organic Mechanic/Feedback sports for their awesome support, gluing up tubulars, etc. They rocked!!!
So, how did the races go??? SATURDAY was a fast start. I blazed to the front, taking the hole shot, waiting for someone to go around, because it was windy. I kind of knew better not to get the hole shot, but it is hard not to when you know you can. So, on the front I sat. Waiting. Knowing someone would eventually go by. And go by they did. I didn't want so many people to go by, but by the end of the race, I was sitting 5th and that is where I ended up. I was satisfied with the result. I wasn't totally disappointed, although I knew a podium was in reach. In the back of my mind, I wondered how I could have done it differently.
Going for the hole shot. (and getting it.) Photo by Lyne/www.podiuminsight.com
Over the barriers... (for more photos go to Lyne's website.
The family. And Mattie.SUNDAY, I did it a bit differently. I didn't gun for the hole shot, although I could have very easily. I played the game smarter. When Georgia made her move, I followed her and I sat on her. Eventually Georgia, Katie and I got a gap. I don't really know how many laps this lasted. Katie did make her move and with the increase in the pace, I fell off, then so did Georgia. So Georgia, Katie and I sat evenly spaced for a few more laps, all riding on our own, with a large group chasing. But then never got dangerously close. The course went back on itself enough that I knew exactly where I was. I was thinking, "if you screw this up and don't get 3rd, you are in big trouble." It was a great feeling. I hung on, raced hard and finished 3rd, earning myself the last podium spot and the Most Aggresive Rider award. For my 5th race in 9 days, I felt pretty strong and satisfied with my performance. It was awesome to get to the finish line and have my proud husband there smiling with satisfaction and having my mom, sister, brother, the kids and everyone totally excited to see me on the podium. It was the least I could do for them, after driving all that way. It delayed their departure a bit, but I don't think they minded.
The run up. It hurt every time. (photo by Lyne. Gallery from day 2 here.)