Santa Barbara presented us with a couple of novel situations – we were racing close to home, and the crit was on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, as is normal in the WCCC. I was a bit nervous about how this would unfold, as crits tend to be where I do better and I typically have better legs the second day of a weekend. But with some confidence that my form was starting to come back around, I set off Friday evening worrying more about whether Georgia* would get along with our host family’s dog Emma, than about anything to do with bikes.**
I made a concerted effort to get my legs a good warm up for the first crit, knowing that I didn’t have a hard race in them from the day before. A slightly smaller group of us lined up to race, with only a couple from the Stanford contingent and no one representing Berkeley. Our race got off to a decent start, with most of us content to cover Davis attacks and I got in on a few prime points. I was able to recover from them, so knew I was feeling ok. At one point one of the Davis women got off the front and we let her dangle there for a while, figuring that that was better than having to continue to chase Davis attacks down, but she was brought back with the 5th of 6 primes. I got off the front with her again later, and picked up 2nd on the 6th prime, but I couldn’t hold it and she just rode away from me. We brought her back shortly thereafter, and the other Davis rider made the move that stuck. I tried to go with it, but might have put in too much too late, and then could only pull off 5th in what ended up being a real drag race of a sprint. Though that might not actually have made much of a difference – drag races are not my sprinting forte!
The ¾ crit in the afternoon went off about an hour after our collegiate crit ended. My Metromint teammate and I got changed into our AWESOME blue dots, and decided on a strategy that gave us enough flexibility to read the race, but also some concrete tasks towards the finish. A bit into the race, I heard a ping as someone went into my rear wheel, and then I couldn’t get my bike to shift below my 19, which is pretty small when paired with a 50! I snuck into the pit but we couldn’t fix it, and I jumped back in the next lap and proceeded to race at 50/19. Turns out I can spin in the 110s… The plan was for me to help my teammate grab some upgrade points, but with 3 to go, I couldn’t find her. With her out of the race, it was up to me to see what I could do. In my 19. The race had been a mix of some quite aggressive women (hats off to UCLA, who was off the front for the first half of the race it seemed, UCSC, a woman on Universal Sports from Oregon, and of course my teammate) and then lots of people who were happy to sit in or make moves that they thought were attacks but really just projected that they were moving up to drag the pack around for a bit. Nina from UCLA went off again with 1 lap to go, and we pulled her back just before corner 4. It was a close call, as the woman who finished her off almost blocked me coming through the corner. Throughout the race there were 3 women who it seemed I needed to watch, Christine from UCSC and the OR woman, and then a junior who it turns out got her cat 3 upgrade with this race. Congrats! The sprint for this race was MUCH shorter than the collegiate, which is great because there’s only so much drag racing you can do in a 19. I ended up 3rd, behind OR woman and Christine, which I’m happy with. It was a good race. There were enough aggressive women to make it fun, and it was nice to be in a slightly bigger field than the last few collegiate races.
* Georgia is my dog, and the team’s pet
** For the record, Georgia and Emma got along swimmingly!