I had high hopes entering Chris Thater, having come off three consecutive wins. However that confidence quickly dissolved between the moments before and throughout the race. I had shredded a tubular tire during the previous week’s crash. In response, team FCS|Zngine expeditiously shipped me a new rear iRT 50T wheel all the way from Texas just in time for Chris Thater. Pretty awesome support here!
Glenn and I promptly installed a new cassette, tuned the CAAD 10, and all seemed well. However, during a warm-up sprint the the rear derailleur began shifting sans human intervention. So I stopped by neutral support, received another quick tune-up, tested it out, and all seemed well again. However, all was not indeed well. Throughout the race I experienced several shifting foul-ups, got chopped in a few corners, and quickly found my mind reeling back to last week’s crash and beyond. At one point the bike locked up entirely, ceasing all pedaling as an attack went up the road. Unfortunately I just had to deal, as poor shifting is not a valid reason to grab a free lap.
WATCH the Chris Thater Pro Women Livestream recording HERE!
Without the bike-handling skills of Marianne Vos (min 3:10), it would be difficult to keep the bike upright should my shifting pose an issue during the downhill finish. So when it came to a sprint, I simply could not muster laying out heart, soul, and every last ounce of wattage into a machine I had lost faith in. So I kept it conservative and in the saddle, instead of over the handle bars where gravity may have won the battle. Had that happened, the only thing I would be laying out is my own body on the asphalt. The result was a lack luster sprint for 7th place. I neither advanced nor was passed yet watched as hopes for a top five finish went up the road. While 7th is by all means a respectable placement, I have already proven it to be doable and now it is time to apply pressure and aim higher.
I am remorseful, as opportunities to further prove myself dwindle while the season comes to a close. Determination courses through my veins, seeking week over week improvements, with satisfaction for nothing less than perfection. Yet I feel I am coming up short, primarily for reasons related to positioning and aggression, though unfamiliarity with the courses and general acclimation to the competition may also play a part. I have yet to gain the historical knowledge of typical NCC/NRC outcomes (i.e. breakaway or field sprint) on specific courses or exactly where successful sprints generally launch.
While I have yet to crack the top 5 NCC/NRC code, I am confident that will come in 2014. Next season I will have experience on my side, familiarity with both courses and competitors. It will also follow my first fall of dedicated training, which will further focus on strengthening weaknesses and perfecting strengths. There is a lot of work ahead and even more room for improvement. In the short-term, the CAAD 10 and I will work on re-establishing trust as a fundamental pillar of our relationship. We will triple check all crash related wear to remediate any lingering issues. There will be pampering and a much brighter demeanor as we set sail for Gateway Cup in St. Louis, Missouri!