To say that I improved on last year's performance would be an understatement. I confuddled myself in the prologue by completing the 5km (uphill) prologue in a time 45 minutes faster than last year - and to be honest that was my first indication that I have brought a much stronger skill set out to play this season. Friday's roadrace was the race of my life. I believe I finished around 36th in a small group of stragglers just over a minute down from the winner. The day was hard with a couple of challenging climbs and some killer wind - but the conditions played to my strengths and I was stoked at the end of the day. Especially stoked as my major concern going into Friday's race was simply to make the time cut so that I could start the crit on Saturday!
Going into this race, I told myself that I was coming to Redlands to see what I had, but most importantly I was here to contest the crit. I had difficulty falling asleep on Friday night as I was so stoked on my performance from the day before, but I must have got enough sleep! The plan for the race was for me to help Joelle and give her a leadout at both the intermediate halfway sprint as well as the final (at this time I would like to give Joelle super props for her 10th place on Friday's Beaumont roadrace). Now, in the crit, I'm afraid I wasn't able to help her out, but she managed to place 6th regardless and I followed shortly behind her in 8th. All and all a great day at the office :)...which takes us to the Sunset Loop. But I mean really, what does one say about the Sunset Loop??? My first marker of accomplishment was when I was still with the group when the "neutral" car pulled off (after about 8km of climbing) as last year I wasn't able to hold on to the group for the start!
I managed to stay with the main pack until the 5th lap (with a good deal of chasing on the downhill I might add - thanks to the girls who helped me stay in contention for as long as I did!). But alas at the start of the steep pitch on the 5th lap I was completely toasted...I'm not sure if it had something to do with my lack of food consumption as I had been concentrating so hard to stay with the group (I will totally admit this is a rookie mistake!!!) Luckily enough I found a couple of super awesome girls who towed me around for the remainder of the 9 laps and we made our way down to the finish line. I will save EVERYONE my thoughts on the fact that we made it within about 250m of the line and then we were diverted off course for the boys to start (they were not pretty thoughts!), but I'm super stoked to have finished! Before today, I was okay with the thought that I may never finish the Sunset roadrace at any point in my cycling career! Also props out to Carrie and Sarah who rode likes STARS today - I'm so proud of you!
So yeah, it's been a week of surprises and pleasant ones at that! I'm stoked to start my season so strong (and it makes up for not getting to do the first Spring Series!!!) Thanks to Vince and Serge for taking care of the team for the last 2 weeks and also to my teammates for such an awesome experience. It was truly a fantastic group of girls full of positive energy and I will miss you when I get home :) But above all I would like to give a SUPER SHOUT out to Robert - the best host housing dude I have ever had. Not only was your house beautiful and welcoming - but you have made our time here that much better! Oh yeah and I will forever owe him for driving myself and a few fellow BCers to LAX really early tomorrow morning. Yes, he is da bomb!
But before I head back to the rain, I'm making a short wedding week trip back home to Calgary where I hope to get all sorts of wedding related tasks accomplished! I'm STOKED to see my family and really excited to get to check out the reception venue and hopefully find my dress! So the fun just keeps on rolling - hope all is fantastic with everyone!!!