Two years ago I came down to Philadelphia for the Liberty Classic with the National Development team. I was tired from Montreal when I arrived and didn't have the best race, but the event left an impression. That evening when we left, I vowed to make it back to race this race yet again - today I echo those sentiments - I want to do well here!
I made it in safe and sound to my host house on Friday night (yours for only a $50 cab ride...) and walked into one of the most amazing houses I've ever seen. The family, the Carpenters have also been unreal - all you could ask of a host house. The weather was sweltering, but with promise of cooler temperatures later in the weekend. The good news: the weather people delivered. I woke up this morning to 23 degrees and overcast - dream conditions for the race. I rode out from the wall to the start of the race with my team in time to sit around for an hour before the start. All day I found that I was comparing to my previous experience; at the start line I was less nervous than last time, but nervous all the same! For the first 7km we rolled down at a pleasant speed - although my heart was racing at 80%! We hit the wall and I wasn't really where I wanted to be position wise, but I was pleased with how I went up it.
To be honest, the next 3 laps were pretty much the same - get into a position for the hill and give 'er up to the top. I was pleased with how I was riding as I made it over in the front peloton (not the front "challenge for the QOM points front") - like top 20-30, but I think all the other sprinters knew better than me and gambled that it was going to come back together - which it did... So I had calculated that the final time up Lemon hill (about 3km from the end) was gonig to be a pivotal moment, so I gave 'er going up the climb and Nicky was with me. Going into the final 2km we were money in like 8th and 9th wheel...then it swarmed. I was recovering my position from the swarm when a crash happened in front and slightly to my left - a bunch of sprinters - crazies :P So at that point I was slowed significantly and looked up to watch 20 girls go by much faster than I and Nurenberger at the front killing it. I rode it in - but was truly disappointed as I was SO ready to give Nicky the best ever lead out! Oh well, next year right???