2007 NRC racing begins..
Let`s see what can I tell you about the weekened that that isn`t already reported on cyclingnews.com (btw--nice reporting Kirsten Robbins!). First off --Brooke Miller is showing the best form of anyone at this point, as she clearly had the strongest legs, claiming the top spot on the podium both days.
As for the races: they were not only pretty fast, but also SUPER sketchy. Saturday`s criterium had a couple of nasty little crashes in the last few laps. The one with two laps to go effectively cost me my focus when it counted the most. I went from sweet spot, to very bad spot --in the blink of an eye. Too bad --because Lauren and Meredith had done an awesome job of setting tempo at the front in the final laps. I was probably as far back as 30th coming out of the shicain in the final lap, and the best I could do was get onto the tail end of the sprint and come home for eighth (which was a bummer because I had taken a couple of primes throughout the race and felt like I had a good sprint in my legs for the day!). From behind the sprint for first, I watched my teammate Lara put in a sweet finishing kick that placed her on the podium in third. Way to go Lara!
Sunday`s road race was interesting. Usually that course is plagued with strong winds that make the race much more tactical. Without the winds this year, and with a number of very motivated teams, it was hard to see a breakaway stick. Plenty of teams attempted to split the field, which caused the race to be aggressive, but nothing ever got going. Again, sketchy riding and crashes marred the race. I got knocked off the course and had to chase back on at one point, but thankfully I managed to miss the crash and ride the rutted dirt okay...as some girls didn`t fare so well from that one. As for the rest of the race, we were present with every move or making moves throughout the race, and when it came down to the finish, Lauren proved how much of an all-around rider she is by getting right up there and coming in for third in the sprint! As for me...the tank was empty empty empty when the jump went... I have no idea where I finished and all I could do was watch the sprint from the back. I feel like I have decent fitness at this point....but not the strength for that kind of finish yet...
Naturally, when we discussed the races in our post race team meeting, we were all pleased with Lipton being on the podium both days, especially because none of us claim to be on great early season form. We were also pleased with how we raced as a team. Merced was not an official race for our team, so we didn`t really have any major expectations, and we were able to feel things out a bit as we start into the 2007 season. It`s nice to back in action!!
Next up-- Central Valley Classic....and San Dimas Stage Race (then there is this little thing called REDLANDS).