I'll write more in a bit - it's been a week since this happened, but I now have pics - so this is me on the podium in 3rd behind Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci-Breakaway) the reigning US National Criterium Champion, and Kate Bates (T-Mobile) the reigning World Points Race Champion.
....2 weeks later
So that was pretty cool - good thing I made it to the podium presentation. There was no posted time for the race - they were just starting when the previous one finished - so I had a flight out of Newark at 6:30 and we originally had thought that we were racing at 11:00. Alas, the first race was off at 11:00 and we were the 4th race - yikes! Luckily it was a non-issue as we started around 1:30 and we were only 30 minutes from the airport, but there was a little stress involved. So anyway, after the race I booked it over to the van and packed my bike in the parking lot only to hear my name on the loudspeaker being called over for podium. I took off running (check out the flip flops - not the quickest method of transportation) and I barely made it! Could you imagine if I'd missed it? Dude I would have been heartbroken. I don't think that smile left my face all the way home (and I even travelled on Air Canada!)
The race itself was fun. I had to talk myself down at the beginning "Don't get dropped! No Jen, there is nothing over the last few days to indicate that you are in danger of getting dropped...but still don't get dropped!" So in order to compensate for this, I went out guns blazing. Perhaps I was a little too aggressive to begin with, but I was having fun following wheels - I figured that I had nothing to lose! I went for a couple of primes...only won the points one - ooops - should listen to the announcer better next time...
With three to go, I knew that it was time to find Nicky and start to settle down - essentially gamble that things would come down to a sprint. It was a little hectic through the last lap, but it was all together coming up the final straight. With about 600m to go my guardian Kelly Benjamin (she looks out for me - she's awesome) told me "for God sakes Jenny find a wheel" to which I followed her up. Once a little closer to the front I moved out to the right behind a Colavita rider and with about 300m to go I hear "Go Jenny!" from behind. Assuming that it was Nicky wanting a lead out I gave it everything I had and sat down on the gear. I looked to my left and saw that I was out front - only Kate Bates was slightly ahead - but not making any ground. With 100m I started waiting for everyone else to come around, but only Theresa flew by and with 10m to go, I knew that I had it....I crossed the line in essential disbelief - but stoked! The only crappy part being that I didn't really know anyone there, so there wasn't really anyone to celebrate with - I missed my Giant girls! The race has jazzed me up though - I'm ready to rock Philly - this time Nicky and I will get the lead out right! :P