Cecelia Pleva took 1st place in the CRCA women's race on Saturday, March 27, 2010. Congratulations, Cecelia!
Here is her report of the race:
When I got to Central Park that morning, I was more confident with myself and especially the team from our Wednesday practice with our coach, Nina Strika. I really felt that with defined roles in a lead out, it would help us execute a winning finish more efficiently. I was eager to try out certain elements we went over in practice during a real race situation. Since it was cold and it was only 4 laps, I decided to liven things up a little early instead of waiting after the first lap. As we went up Harlem Hill, I was a bit shaky since weaker, less experienced riders were holding me up and I got boxed in the middle. Also, I noticed there was a lot more braking in the field which made things a bit choppy. I attacked over the West Side rollers close to the reservoir since a) i needed to warm up b) it was effective in practice and c) I discovered it was a good spot for me. I think Donna counter-attacked after I got caught which was good because I don't have any real endurance right now and I was getting tired. I did notice Donna was turning her head around and looking behind her. I was thinking "Don't do that!" If you turn around and look it makes everyone know you aren't that committed to the attack/break and you may be giving up. I was thinking that Donna is strong enough that it was entirely possible she could stay away if no one bridged up. I don't really remember what happened in between, details escape me on who did what.
The next thing I remember was Gabby attacked and I went after her and just stayed on her wheel. I didn't see the point of going around her since I wasn't going to let her go and she would do all the work since I was tired. Before I knew it, Corrine, me, Gabby, Renee and Laura Lee bridged up and we were in a 5-woman break. I'm like, "How did this happen?" Corrine started joking about how funny it would be if this break stuck. I surveyed the group and knew of course this was the most unlikely break situation, since the experience level combined wasn't very deep. I knew I had the most experience and if I screwed this up I would never forgive myself. So then I decided, that I would win this one. We worked the last two laps in a pace line with Gabby coaching us. I was too tired to coach anyone. The Velocity girls were both really strong and had a few surges in the last lap. Corrine talked the entire time and I was dying. I feared the Velocity girl, Renee, would try to break off on her own but I knew I couldn't let her go no matter what.
The girls revved up their engines just before the boat house and I remained calm and basically sat on their wheels up Cat's Paw hill. Then the drag race started, 3 across, and they were surging early so I just got on Renee's wheel and simply went around her in the final sprint (just like practice). Then I won! Nuts! Believe me, if anyone is capable of ruining a good thing, it's me. I couldn't believe that I actually won. Yes, some other strong contenders weren't there, and I'm chalking it up as a lucky fluke, but it goes to show you that any break is possible and you never know what will stick. A proud day for Radical-Media's first team race!
P.S. I have some major training to do...
We also got news this week about a former teammate of our, Evelyn Stevens, who is now racing professionally with HTC-Columbia. She took first place in the finale of the Redlands race. Her spectacular finish was profiled in VeloNews, where we are now accustomed to reading about her cycling endeavors. Amazing, Evie!