Sunday, May 13, 2007

Joe Martin: Friday Road Race

So the climbing legs did not quite come through. I went with the initial group as the field started to split, then literally started moving backwards, then rode up the 9-mile climb easily in the laughing group, with a group of maybe 15-20 riders up the road. I was a bit bummed and considered my race done - I just sat on, knowing that this split benefited Hiroko and Kathleen up ahead and knowing that now I would get to go on the attack on Saturday. But my group had some motivation to chase, led interestingly by Cheerwine, the team with 10 riders in the race and 5 riders in the front group, and some strong riders from smaller teams that had missed the move. To my astonishment, we caught the front group, which had been riding lazily. Aaron's (especially Catherine Powers) controlled the front of the race on the flat and downhill run into town. Hiroko had filled me with horror stories of the potential for time gaps at the finish, given a "wall" of a hill just after a right turn. There was certainly a positioning battle into the turns. We turned up, my legs felt spritely and I finished 13th without a time split. Cat Caroll of Aaron's won the stage, quoted later as saying "Winning is contagious." That's what I need - a bit more killer instinct and higher personal aspirations. Kathleen and Hiroko also made it without time split. Some bad news for the rest of the team, however: Leigh, Robin, and Mandy were all caught in a crash right before the climb. Leigh got cut up pretty badly and they all lost major time they would not have otherwise, a disappointment for Robin especially. In other AWESOME news, our teammate Rebecca Much joined us for the race, after 2.5 weeks of training, and she finished the stage, in spite of having the freehub of a wheel implode. She has a fantastic attitude and I feel excited to be her teammate and take part in her return to the sport. Our wonderful host family, Steve, Chris, Jack, and Lucy Kate Lisle cheered us at the finish with this exquisite hand-drawn sign. We could not be luckier or better supported!

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