This was a fast and furious summer with lots of racing. I started the season with a grand total of 1 crit and 1 circuit race under my belt. I was afraid of riding in a tight pack, uncertain of cornering at high speeds, rode on the hoods with hands on the brakes in races, and wasted a lot of energy due to poor positioning in the pack, slowing into and sprinting out of corners.
I finished the season in a very different place. I earned >20 upgrade points based upon performance in mass start races, which met the requirement for my upgrade to Category 3. Crit racing used to cause serious fear and anxiety, now it is my favorite type of racing. I earned most of my upgrade points in crits, with 2 wins and many other podium finishes. Time trials continue to be a strength with my triathlon background. I won the TT stage at the Tour of Millersburg, which earned me the leader’s jersey going into the second stage.
My confidence in fast corners improved and I received some great tips from my coach and how to continue improving my cornering skills.
Sprinting is a strength to be developed. I knew these big thighs were good for something. I corrected some form issues (getting off the hoods and into the drops, learning to be comfortable out of the saddle) although I still have to work on my gear selection. I think I lost a few places in a few races because I was in too hard of a gear or too easy of a gear to sprint effectively.
Climbing is a struggle for me. I can climb effectively and it was a relative strength for me in TTs and tris when there was no drafting and I could moderate my effort to stay close to threshold. In road racing I struggle to hang onto the pack during climbs because these tend to be significantly more intense than threshold efforts. I know there are some tactics I can work on, such as positioning in the front at the start of the climb so if I fall off pace there may still be wheels for me to grab onto instead of losing contact and having to bury myself in the HR red zone to get reconnected after the climb. I also can work on shedding some weight in the off-season. I tried losing a few pounds earlier in the season but I had NO ENERGY to do my hard workouts or manage the intensity of road racing. So I kept eating to my hunger cues and ended up gaining weight through race season, but was able to continue to perform at high intensity.
Lots of lessons learned and experience gained. Much more to come next year when I race as a Cat 3. Bike racing, like anything, is about the journey more so than the destination. The people you meet along the way are the best part of the journey. I truly admire the commitment to the sport within the local community. There is good healthy competition but the overarching spirit within the community is to continue to grow the sport and give all the newcomers advice and mentoring to keep us safe as we build our skill sets and experience.
I look forward to a somewhat more laid back off-season. Although I will be getting back onto the tri scene for a few late season sprints and also participating in a few Cross races.
A huge thanks to my coach Deborah Leedale-Brown and my team and sponsors. Guy’s Bicycles and Cannondale have been fabulous. My Slice and Supersix Evo HM have been wonderful bikes – so stiff and responsive with great handling. And Guy’s shop has been so responsive and quick to help with anything I needed on the bike maintenance front.
I also need to thank my Triathlon team, Wattie Ink, and the Team Wattie Ink sponsors, since there is considerable carryover between the tri and road gear. I’ve logged many training hours in my Wattie Ink kits and they’ve kept me comfortable (and high vis when needed – love that neon ice kit). Knight Composites wheels are fabulous (superfast) and have been great on my Supersix for road and crit racing. Rudy Project helmet and sunglasses were also essential pieces of race kit – very comfortable and that green helmet is so easy to spot in a pack.
Season results listed below:
PA BAR Series Road Cycling (2016 – 3rd place Cat 4, 5th place Wm 35+)
April 16 – Farmersville RR (25th – Cat 3/4)
April 17 – Lower Providence Crit (6th – Cat 4)
April 23 – Navy Yard Crit (8th – Cat 4)
May 14 – Smoketown Airport Crit (8th – Cat 4)
May 22 – Kitchen Road Crit (1st – W 35+)
June 4 – Philadelphia Amateur TT (3rd – Cat 4)
June 11 – Mt Joy Road Race (18th Cat 3/4)
June 19 – Race Avenue Crit (4th Cat 4 – scored separate from Women’s open)
June 26 – Emrick Blvd Crit (2 races – 3rd W35+, 2nd Cat 4)
July 23 – Grandview Grand Prix (2nd Cat 4, State Championship)
July 24 – Velo Shop Criterium (3rd – Cat 4)
August 6-7 – Tour of Millersburg (TT 1st, Crit 8th, Road Race DNF)
August 13 – Ambler Bike Race (2nd Cat 4)
August 20 – Iron Hill Twilight Crit (3rd Wm 35+)
Other Road Cycling
May 1 – Hollenbeck’s Spring Classic (5th – Cat 4)
May 7 – Somerset TT (2nd – Cat 4)
May 8 – Bear Mountain Cycling Classic (11th – Cat 4)
May 14 – Freehold TT (5th – Women’s Open)
June 12 – Historic Riverton Crit (20th – Women’s Open)
June 18 – Finger Lakes Circuit Race @ The Glen (7th – Cat 4)
July 3 – Bicycle Escape Criterium MABRA Championship Race (1st – Cat 4)
August 27 – Chris Thater Memorial Cat 3/4 (5th overall, 1st Cat 4)
August 28 – Chris Thater Memorial Cat 4 (2nd)