Posted by Tiff P (aka "Hot Mama")
This past weekend we headed to Atlanta, GA for stop #4 on the USA Crits calendar: The Terrapin Twilight Crit in Athens, GA. Athens kicked off the supersweet southeast Speedweek crit series--aka what racing is meant to be!
In setting up our clinic, Prof got us hooked up with Frazier Cycling and some of the families and coaches behind this grassroots program quietly formulating future superstars. We stayed with Coach Kelli (Kelli Rogan--a former pro roadie and track rider) and her son, 6-year-old Baden. On the morning of Athens, a few Frazierites (Zoe Frazier, her brother, his friend and Dominique) took us on a spin around Lawrenceville where we were staying. Super great to get to know these awesome young-uns.
We headed down to Athens for the race several hours later. Athens is a huge race with tons of fans. It can be really hard to deal with parking, finding registration, etc. Thanks to Frazier Cycling, we were super styled and were able to come camp right on the course under those welcome blue tents covering legions of junior riders and their parents. We adopted speedy Zoe to race with us for Athens and pulled Dominique into our little Primal racing web too. We had our pre-race meeting and then it was race time!
All the Speedweek races are tremendous--great crowds, cool towns, excellent purses...But Athens is sort of the crown jewel of the series. The vibe is just ELECTRIC and there is no way to not get totally pumped (and totally nervous/tons of port-o-potty trips) for this race.
With Joanie and I in the top 5 of the USA Crits overall, we were super lucky to get call-ups...A very key thing in the throw down that happens in this race. Sitting on the start line--I tried to take a moment to just absorb the awesome-ness of the whole scene: racing with great teammates in front of a huge crowd! My adrenaline was supercharged and I just had one of those moments of "wow--I'm so lucky to even be here!" A year ago I was toward the end of my pregnancy--a huge whale that had to pee all the time and craved cured pork products.
The race started out very fast and aggressive with lots of primes to keep things interesting. I was able to test out the legs in a prime sprint and then sort of settled in to wait for the finish. Teammates Kaytie, Mel and Prof were rockstars of coverage making sure no move got too far up the road. As the race went on, the night got darker, the shadows got weirder and the crowd got louder. Thank god for the excellent bike handling skills of most of the pro women's peloton. Sometimes I think what we do is crazy--even though I love it!
In the last few laps, Mel got Joanie I towards the front but on the last lap we just got a bit jumbled and ended up finishing 12th and 15th respectively. Not horrible but certainly not what we were hoping for. Joanie's finish kept her in 2nd in the USA Crits overall and hungry for more podiums in the upcoming Speedweek races!
We had a blast getting to hang with the Frazier Cycling crew--it really MADE the experience! Can't wait to see the talent that keeps coming out of the program!
While I had to head back to Salt Lake City for mom and work duties after race #2 in Roswell, the rest of the team continues on with the series races. I'm cheering them on from home and I hope you'll do the same! Remember to check us out on Twitter and Facebook! Thanks for reading and see you at the races!