3 years before I started racing, I heard about the GMSR. I would check it out online, I rode some of the roads, I would hear reports from friends….it was one of the main reasons for me to take up racing. Sentimental, I know…but being there was a dream come true.
The TT was hard. What can I say about a TT? 5.7 miles. Hilly. Headwind. Heart rate. Go. The hardest part was after the crest of the final climb because there was still so, so far to go! After feeling sluggish on the flats because of the headwind, I was surprised to get second place, right behind my teammate Donna McMahon and within seconds of my other teammate in the 3/4 field, Erica . We were fortunate to start the rest of the race with an advantage—something I wouldn’t fully appreciate until later.
There were no surprises in the circuit race—30 miles and only one major climb. The group stayed together until the end, with a point sprint and QOM climb shaking up the pace a bit
As a team, we went into the race with the goal of getting Erica a placing bonus, but the strong headwind foiled our well-intentioned lead-out plans. We finished with the pack, with Donna maintaining her lead in the GC. I was passed by 2 riders and bumped down to 4th and Erica was in 7th place. It wasn’t until reading the results that I began to understand how critical every second was.
The road race seemed like the day that would determine the whole thing. 75 miles, some long climbs, and a very tough finish at the top of a steep Ap Gap. Going in with all three Raddies in the top 10, we hoped to be in any breaks and hoped that we had our climbing legs. The race started at an easy pace in anticipation of the first climb at around mile 20—Brandon Gap. We had a small group of 8-10 riders for the descent and fully expected to keep a break, but we were neutralized for several minutes because of a terrible crash in an earlier race which brought the whole field back. It seemed that the race was coming down to Ap Gap, the steepest, 3 mile-climb. Starting at Baby Gap (the 2.5 mile climb prelude), I sat on Fabienne’s wheel near the back of the pack and was patient. I had confidence in her ability to get to top of the mountain fast (she was QOM after all). Steady as can be, she slowly increased her pace as others dropped off the back. Donna was already out ahead at the 500 meter mark (wow is she STRONG. she won by 22 seconds), when Laura picked it up forcing us to work harder. I had wanted to pass Fabienne close to the finish, but she was too fast for me, pulling away before the line. I felt content with 3rd place, glad that I hadn’t made any mistakes and had done my best.