Looking at the other competitors before the start, I was intimidated. I don't remember seeing quite as much hardware at last year's event - full on TT bikes, disk wheels, aero helmets... And knowing that some of these women were strong Cat 3s, I was worried.
I set off next to last, with a goal of getting into the 16:00 range (I finished the 6.6 mile course in 17:17 last year), and I'll admit [sheepishly] a secondary goal to beat Sally's time from last year (of 16:40). I went out fast and hard, catching both my 30 second and 1 minute gals, but not knowing how I was doing besides not being able to breathe ;-). I admit that I didn't feel great, but I tried to push past that feeling, and just get through the amended course (this year's distance was more likely around 6.2 miles, accounting for about 30 seconds).
When I crossed the line, I finally looked at my time, and was surprised to see 15:53! I had more than achieved my goal, so I was pretty pleased. As I headed into the parking lot and back to the car, Ivy from Vello Bella came up and congratulated me. "What for?", I asked. She then told me that I won!
Final results for NEBC women (15 starters): Cathy - 1st (15:53), Michele - 9th (17:29 in her first TT!), Julie - 13th (18:38).
This means that I have to defend my position in tonight's circuit race. The second place finisher from the TT is a very strong Cat 3 racer, and Ivy is in 3rd place.
In the Men's Cat 4 race, Mike, Tom, Jay and David all lined up for the start. Mike managed to beat his time from last year fairly significantly, but finished 6th (of 57!) - last year he finished in 4th... Still a great result in the first night of racing for both of us, and for the whole team!
Here are some additional pics of the team from last night:
Mike: intent on the start
Michele blazing across the line; David getting ready to go
Julie in her Stars and Stripes; Jay setting off