Yay a picture! Thanks Paul, for taking this beauty of me racing at Roswell!
Okay, so maybe that's not being entirely fair to myself - I have only attempted one other NRC crit - and I was only 19 years old but needless to say, this weekend was FAR more successful. My racing started out on the streets of Athens, Georgia Saturday evening just before 8pm. Athens is a twilight crit - meaning that we started racing at dusk and it was full on dark by the end of the race and while I didn't get hit by a beer can as someone I talked to did last year - I did get to enjoy the lively atmosphere. Picture a town inhabited by students (this is more of a unique idea for those of us from Canada where Universities aren't the center of a small town but rather a bi-product of our larger cities) and all the students have just recently finished exams. There is a whole lot of drinking - and even more atmosphere. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I was really in a state of mind to enjoy it. I took to the line a little nervous, but quickly enough, nerves turned to pain as the girls at the front put the hammer down. We were sporting team radios and we received some great encouragement from the other end - however, I'm not really sure that the race ever really did slow down, as they promised it would! The course is a long rectangle with the long straight being the homestraight and the backstraight - the latter of which had a sizeable bump in it. The major obstacle of the race was jumping over that each lap - I must admit as I got tired I was getting lazy and just waiting for the corners to catch up to the back of the pack. It was honestly more pain than I have experienced for a long time - but I was super proud that I finished with the group - especially as there were times when I wasn't sure I was going to. My legs seemed to come around about 5 laps to go - which I was okay with - and that enabled me to move up in the pack a little. I cut the final corner on the inside and was able to limp across the line in 17th place (got pipped at the line by two girls - could have been 15th!) I was stoked - maybe not something for everyone to write home about - but it helped get the cobwebs out and ready me for Sunday.
Sunday was a crit in Roswell, Georgia (oh yeah and for the record, I'm sad that I didn't get to check out any of the Atlanta Olympic venues - so I guess I'll just have to go back. Although it did occur to me that the velodrome is now in Bromont). The course was a little longer and less intimidating (possibly as I'd broken the dry spell in my racing, so I knew that I was able to race again - after the unbelievable fatigue that I went through at home in Calgary I was a little worried about where my fitness stood - but the verdict is good :)) The race started out and I immediately got myself closer to the front than I was the previous evening. After the pain of sitting tail gunner (I was pleased that Chris wasn't there on Saturday night, I feel that he might have given me grief for where I was sitting in the pack - which mayb have been much needed and some form of karma!) I decided to sit more actively in the pack in Roswell. I was definately more aggressive and even got my picture on cyclingnews! Having said that - I'm just a "Team Kenda Tire rider" - need to work on my street cred to actually get my name in the caption! It was a good step in my development at this level though as I learned that I can indeed make an effort and still be good to stay in the pack. I had a good time - but I missed the break and then a couple of subsequent bridges up to the break, but I guess I'll learn this with time. It's all about the learning curve - but I had fun and that's the main idea!
Now, I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Hickory, North Carolina as Alisha Lion and myself are internet-nerding it up. I'm spending the week with her and we're going to be all over the place which should be fun as it looks like a beautiful area and I'm stoked to see what's around. I'm keeping my fingers crossed about the Flames to finish off the series this evening - I got the T-shirt on and everything! I go home for a month and the Canadian roots shine right on through. So it's a couple of weeks of training before I head to Joe Martin (in Arkansas I think) so here's to riding the bike and I'll be signing off! (My camera should be back soon and then I'll be able to get some pictures out!)