First race of the season, first one with the team, new teammates, different focus (criteriums and NCC series)... A lot to expect for the first weekend. After weeks and month of preparation, here we go, the show must go on! That being said, despite all the training and the preparation, there is always a new excitation coming to the first race of the season, especially when that one is the first of the National Race Calendar and when you are in a leader position in a new team that already lots of confidence in your abilities. But I was ready, and we were ready to break the ice and race hard!
Our race expectation was for our team be an important part of the race, and to race positively, not only to sit and wait for a bunch finish. We knew that the Optum team had enough good cards to play and that as the first race it would be an agressive one. Early on, attacks were launched, with the first one with one of our girls covering it, I jumped in the 2nd move, which did not go far. But then, the 3rd attack with a solo Optum rider got a quick gap, with teammates doing their job at the front. We tried to get as organized as possible but it was just a little too late. The race was still on and we kept the focus on the later game. I made my best to be at a position where I needed to be to to save energy and give it where it'll be time. In the last 5-6 laps, I could count on my teammates to get me on a good spot, which saved me energy for the late surges happening in the last 2 laps. With one to go, I was on 3rd or 4th wheel, which was fine, and in the last corner was 3rd wheel and then gave my best to the line, good for a 2nd of those crazy crit sprint finish, earning the 3rd spot on the podium.
Overall, this is a good start to the season! Thanks to my teammates who did an awesome job even before the race started, with doing the majority of work at the clinics and teaching groups in the morning.
Primal ProWomen pb/BH are holding clinics for women to teach them the basics of cycling, to give back to the community and fund its race with those activities. Being part of that team gives you wings, so that race is just the beginning. Thanks to Bobby the mechanic, Susan the host, and everyone helping us out. Congratulations to the Old Pueblo Grand Prix race for having put on such a wonderful event as well!
Next stop: Delray Beach Twilight, March 23rd! We'll be ready and hungry for more!
By Joanie Caron