USAFA TTT/Crit/Road Race

‎”We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.” – Anonymous

I came across this on Twitter this morning, and it made me realize what a great collegiate season I am having. It always feels good to win, but it’s also good to see your teammates win, the boys of FLC cycling win, and friends win. This season, I haven’t only started each race, but I have also finished every race, and I’ve finished each race accomplishing something that I have wanted too, getting a result I have shot for, and exceeded many of my expectations. This past weekend was no exception.

We started the weekend off with the team time trial on the US Air Force Academy base, and the ladies and I did it right. We won, this time, with Lauren Taylor on our team, putting in an incredibly strong effort for her first “official” team time trial. It become clear in this TTT that gravity is a much greater acting force on me than my teammates, as we made a long descent and I tucked on the front, and I dropped all three of them, waiting for them to catch back up after I made a right hand corner and looked back. We are truly flying this year, as a women’s team, together. Nationals are coming up quick, and this is the fastest TTT I have been on yet, since coming to Fort Lewis.

That afternoon, we ventured onto the criterium, at the USAFA stadium. This race was up and down, over and over again, but gradual. I jumped straight off the starting line. Our instructions were to make the race hard and fast, since they tend to be slow and tactically driven by FLC, while no other team chases. This weekend we had more girls, which was great, but also, made it apparent that when we get to nationals, having 50+ girls on the starting line is going to be a lot different. So, I jumped off the line, strung it out, made it hard, then after I came around lap #1, I pulled off, no one came through, and we were in a bunch again. The FLC girls tried to send off attacks, nothing stuck, the other girls brought them back. We went for primes, we got them. With 17 laps to go, I jumped for a prime, got a gap, and didn’t look back. I got away. And by 1 to go, I was behind the field, within 150 ft, and I won. This was the first true solo effort that I had put in, the true “hard” race that I have done, where I put myself out there. Our crits have been slow, and driven by our team, and mostly result in sitting in and covering for teammates. But this weekend, our coaches told us to go for it, we need to get prepared for nationals, so…waallllaa! I am very happy with it.

Then, I ate a burger, bacon, fries, and ice cream. Seriously. Woke up the next morning at 5:00 am, and got ready for the road race. The race split pretty quickly. In the first lap, going up the climb, my teammates Sarah Sturm, a girl from Mesa State (also named Sarah) and myself got away. We were doing 3 laps, and with 1 to go, we had put 8 minutes on the field. We rotated, worked together, and going up the climbs for the last time, the Mesa girl was suffering. I told Sarah to go. She went. I couldn’t hang. That skinny little thing can climb hills like it’s no one’s business. Off she went, I came in for second less than 15 seconds back, and we put a serious dent on the field. This race was hard. Long downhill, climb on the feed zone, which, at the top, was the finish line, really climby in the last half of the race. And a long long long gradual climb into the hills, which had a gnarly headwind that made you bleed out of your ears. It was hard, only 41 miles though. But long enough to make you hurt.

Then, after the race, we went back to our hotel rooms, showered, went to Chipotle, had some burritos and bowls, then went back to the race course to watch the boys race.

After their race, back to Chipotle we went, at some more burritos and bowls, and then ventured on back to Durango to start school this morning.

So FLC came home with a win in the women’s TTT, Crit, and Road Race. And also, with a win in the men’s A RR as well. The ladies are still, undefeated, and with one weekend left in the RMCCC season, we have conference finals here, in Durango, and we aren’t going to let anything change what has already been going on.

Every person who starts a race has a chance to win. No person is the same. We are all different, we all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have different body shapes, weights, power output…but we all have the same opportunity to win. And this is something I have realized. I have every opportunity to do well, and win a road race with hills, just the same as the girls that I am racing against. Even the 110 lb teammates I have. And when I realize this, anything is possible. Nationals is not an easy road race, but I have the ability to do extraordinary things. I have the ability to climb, and climb well, and race hard, fast, smart. “Keep your dreams alive. “Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” Dreams are attainable.

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