Hunter Mountain Spring Classic, May 2013
You’d think after doing the same race twice in one season and having pretty awful results, the idea of doing it a third time would be completely out of the question. Part of me wanted to never go to Hunter Mountain again after doing the Spring Classic and then the disastrous Summer Classic. Not only did I get dropped (again), but also ended up 20 miles off course with no cell service, no food, no water, no money and with a slow leak in my rear tire. Fun!
So my only goal going into this race was to not get dropped…at least not on the first climb. I really wasn’t in the mood to spend near $100 on a training ride at Hunter Mountain again. If I made it over the climbs with the group, my second goal would be to place high enough to get an upgrade point.
Brean and I get there with plenty of time to warm up and my nerves start kicking in. All I can think about is the potential solo ride I might have to do if I don’t make it with the group up the first climb.
At staging (which took forever) they tell us that the Cat 5 Citizens are being combined with us. There are about five or so of these men that will end up benefiting me but also hurting me in this race. Finally they blow the whistle and we’re off. I stick to the front of the group to avoid any crashes or sketchy situations off the line that tend to happen in Cat 4 women’s races. We hit the first climb and I slide back a little but I end up staying mid-pack through it to the top. One down, one to go.
A minor crash (not involving me thankfully) and a couple of Cliff Bars later, we hit the second climb and there are some men at the front driving the field. I’m hanging in there until a girl makes an attack towards the top of the climb. Some separation forms and I bridge back up using girls one-by-one along the way. I finally make contact with the break at the crest of the hill and a man (not a woman) in the break makes another attack. The wheel I’m on isn’t responding and I just don’t have anything left in the tank to go around her and stay on. I try to catch back on but it’s not working and I don’t want to burn myself out. So I wait up for two girls who are behind me and organize us into a paceline. We keep working and picking up discarded people along the way until the main field catches us. This is when I realize that a lot of girls got left behind. This means that there are only a handful of girls in that break. My upgrade point goal could very well be within reach.
I stayed at the front of the pack and ended up behind two guys who are driving the field. I don’t know when it clicked that they were my ticket to the finish line, but when it did I just sat back and let the two men rotate and take pulls in front of me. Not one single girl made an attack or tried to threaten my position. With about a mile or two to go, the men make an attack to shell off the women and I work hard to stay with them knowing that this is my leadout. I stay on the men, letting them keep rotating in front of me. We hit two corners and I blast through them knowing that if I slow down at all, one of the girls could take my position. I look back (I know, I know, I shouldn’t have!) and realize there’s quite a bit of separation between the field and us. One of the men pulls off to let his guy start his sprint. I stay on the sprinter’s wheel until I feel like he’s going too slow and I come around him and charge to the finish.
At the finish line, Hunter Mountain Fall Classic, September 2013
Immediately, I roll up to the women in the break who’ve already finished and my first question is “How many women finished with you?” The answer is five, which means I got 6th place. This also means I accomplished my goal of getting an upgrade point.
While I wish I could have hung on with the break because I could have probably done really well in the sprint, I am more than pleased that not only did I not get dropped but I also got a great result. Hunter Mountain is no longer my White Whale.