To say I was nervous about the race is actually misleading - I was more intimidated than anything else. The pre-reg list was stacked with talent, including none other than Lyne Bessette, our NEBC Elite Women's team, Anna Milkowski and a slew of other REALLY good Cat 1/2/3 racers. Added to the intimidation was the fact that I don't really like crits and corners.
At the pre-race meeting, Brooke outlined the plan for the team. Cris was going to go from the gun; we needed to be prepared to counter; Rebecca was going to mark Lyne; and my job was to stay in the MIDDLE of the pack (and if anyone saw me on the back, they were supposed to yell at me).
At GO, the pack took off like there were turbo chargers attached to their bikes. We literally went from standing still to 25 mph instantly. I was hearing Brooke in my head, and did my best to stay attached in the middle of the pack, but after about 5 laps, the pace was just too high, and I lost touch (it was those blasted corners - I STILL had to sprint out of them to try to stay attached!). On this course, you could literally see the pack from anywhere on the road, so I went into TT mode for several more laps, working as hard as I could to try and catch (to no avail).
Thankfully, the spectators were great. Mike and a contingent of the NEBC 4/5 team were on the opening corner cheering each time through. I also had an angel on the backside of the course - Darcy M. from IBC was cheering, yelling and coaching me through the entire race. She would tell me when to go hard and push it, as well as when to wait and get ready to jump back into the field as they were lapping me. A HUGE thank you to Darcy!
Once I jumped back into the field, I was again able to hang on for a significant number of laps. Unfortunately, they kept ringing that freakin' prime bell, ratcheting the pace. After the hard solo effort, I had a hard time matching the pace, and fell off the back again. I managed to catch Michele S at one point, and just as we started to go together, a child on a bike was crossing the road in the most technical corner - I really thought that both he and I were done, and I knew Michele was right on my wheel. I managed to avoid a collision and keep on, but at that point I lost touch with Michele.
In the end, I managed to cross the line 22nd out of 28 starters. Not bad from my perspective, and likely the ONLY time in my career that I will finish ahead of Brooke, since she just had a baby six weeks ago ;-).
Most importantly, my head is back in the game! After a week off the bike, the legs felt great, and I had a FUN time at this race! I hope that it continues - I will definitely be back for it again.