So sorry for the delay of this report, I know you've been sitting on pins and needles awaiting it. So without further delay, here it is......
After Nature Valley, we had planned to do a couple ToAD races, and then do Glencoe on Saturday. The promoter, Jon Knouse, has always done right by the women by giving us decent prize money and race lengths, so we wanted to support the race. Plus it was the Illinois State Criterium Championships!!!
Jeannie was under the weather, Jessi was at nationals, and Elena was in search of upgrade points at the ToAD race that day. Sarah made the drive from Michigan to line up with Stacy and I, so we had a team of 3. It was a small field, but we knew it would be hard because there were a handful of Tibco and Vanderkitten pros there as well as some other big names we knew, as well as all of the locals going for the top Illinois spot. Our goal was to make sure that Stacy or I took that position. The course is fairly long with a nice little technical descent heading into a little kicker of a hill that was enough to hurt. It was critical to maintain speed in the technical downhill to be able to have momentum for the uphill. Almost immediately riders were opening gaps and if you were behind them, you were done! Sarah got stuck behind such a gap but rode hard enough for the rest of the race to still finish in the $$$.
Stacy did quite a bit of work throughout the race and tried several times to initiate a small break containing a Tibco and a Vanderkitten, which would have been the magic combination but it was immediately apparent that Tibco was confident in their chances against us in the sprint because every time they chased it down. As a result we came to the finish as a group and on the last lap I was able to be in awesome position; about 4th. Unfortunately I let a small gap open up somewhere and then had no gas for a full sprint. I got passed by a couple riders to end up 7th overall and Stacy was right behind me yelling "go for it!!" to finish 8th. I was the FIRST ILLINOIS RIDER!!! Which was super cool. I was pretty happy about getting the Illinois State Jersey for ABD, even though I would have liked us to have a higher placing in the race. Turns out Tibco made the right strategy choice as they finished first and third with Vanderkitten sneaking in for second.
In the end Stacy, Sarah and I raced well together and I'm cautiously optimistic that I might be able to see an improvement in my year!! We even got some props from Tibco's winner Emma Mackie in their post race write up listed on the GGP website: “Some of the girls from the area were doing some great attacks and definitely keeping the pace high as well..... I tried a couple times on the hill (to break) and everything stayed together so we just waited for the sprint and stuck to our plan.”
Many thanks to Steve Crane and Rich Johnson for cheering us on EVERY SINGLE LAP!! It was awesome. :)
Can't wait to hear the updates from Altoona--Go Jessi!-- and up next for Sarah, Stacy, Elena, Jeannie and I..... my all time favorite time of the year: SUPERWEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not sure what will happen in the results, but I do know this: It will be fun and it will be hot. See you all out there!!!