Tonight's race was the Circuit Race - 3 laps of an 8.8 mile loop, with QOM points as well. The skies threatened, but we remained dry throughout the race (YAY!). Fifteen women took the start line again today, and with the leader's PINK jersey, I felt that I had a giant target on my back ;).
Tonight's race was much different than this same race last year - we averaged around 23 mph (vs. 17 mph last year), and EVERYONE shared the work (where last year, it was basically two or three women who pulled the entire race). While there were no breaks, it did come down to a group of about 10 women on the final climb.
In the racer meeting prior to the start, we heard that there would be QOM points on each lap with the exception of the first. However, at the start line, the official stated that there would be points for EACH lap - at least that's what I heard. So, the first time up the climb, I surged, and was surprised that they were letting me go. I crested the hill first, and didn't realize until after the race that I had either misheard, or the official on the start had been wrong - oh well!
Michele did an awesome job keeping pace for me - too awesome in fact, and sadly got dropped going downhill on the second lap after chasing from the back to pull in front of me. Julie also was out on the front for some time doing some pacing on the first lap - thanks and congrats to both of you for a great race!
The NEBC gals in their colors ;)
In the final lap, Carole from Boston Scientific offered to lead me out in the sprint at the finish, assuming she would be there on the final climb (I think she said something about it costing me $10 though ;)). Unfortunately, I got in front of Carole on the climb and fast following descent, and couldn't let up for fear of losing contact with the major players. Carole and Helen were definitely great help to me tonight though - both checking in often to see how I was doing, and offering wheels. It's nice to have NEBC friends AND teammates in the race ;).
I rounded the final corner with the front group, but in the wrong gear. Had to chase them down in the final sprint, and crossed the line in 7th. I lost the leader's jersey tonight, but am still 3rd in the overall GC, with a STRONG group of Cat 3 women still behind me.
Final results for tonight for the team: Cathy - 7th (3rd GC), Michele - 11th (tied for 9th in GC), Julie - 14th (tied for 13th in GC).
Mike also had a great race tonight, finishing 14th in his group, and managing to avoid two big crashes in his field, the second rounding the final corner into the sprint. By the time the Cat 4 men's field came through there, the road was wet. Mike was, however, nervous in his race, as last year he crashed in this one. Not sure where he is currently in the GC, but he should still be fairly high in the standings as well.
Tonight is the points race - not my strong suit, but I am going to have to work at it to maintain my overall GC placing. I heard a rumor that the track has been repaved which will be AWESOME, unless, of course, we get the thunderstorms that are predicted...