Despite the fact that EVERY SINGLE tree, pole, post, whatever had a No Parking sign posted on it, some people apparently did not get the message. Nine cars were left parked on the closed race course which meant nine cars had to be towed away before the races could start.
|Hard to miss the No Parking signs on every tree and pole.|
Nine cars at 10 minutes per car to tow it away meant Monday's first race was delayed a full 90 minutes.
Unfortunately the hour and a half late start caused the race organizers to cut the first few races short. The women's 3/4 race was supposed to be 30 minutes + 3 laps. Instead, they cut our race down to 5 laps. FIVE LAPS! Period. Basically that meant it was going to be a dead sprint for about 15 minutes.
I made sure I was well warmed up, knowing the warm-up today was key. Even so, when we started, I struggled to get my stuff together on the first lap. I was holding on fine, but didn't feel ready to attack or react to attacks. The pace was fast and not letting up.
About halfway through the 2nd lap, I managed to work my way up near the front of the field. A girl in front of me moved over and the path ahead of me opened up. I knew I had to jump on it. I attacked and hit corner 8 in the front of the pack. I got out of the saddle again and when I looked over my shoulder, I saw I had a decent gap on the field. I hammered through corners 9 and 10 with no one on my wheel.
As we came through the start/finish line, the bell rang indicating a prime lap. I could feel someone had caught my wheel, so I let up my effort a little but no one overtook me. I continued to pull through corners 1, 2, and 3, through the wind by the brewery, through corners 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. As I was on the front, I had an open line through every corner while everyone else had to worry about getting boxed in and having to touch their brakes.
As I came around corner 9 I began to wonder if I could maintain the lead and win the prime. I came through corner 10 and hammered the 3 blocks to the finish line. I was out of the saddle the last 2 blocks, but got caught right at the line again and lost the prime by half a wheel. Damn!
I'd been pulling for a lap and a half and now we only had 1 lap to go. It was a windy day, so I was reluctant to keep my position at the front. I tucked in behind a couple other girls through corners 2-7, but found myself boxed in and had to touch my brakes around the corners. I was forced to take the outside line on corners 9 and 10 and even with a hard sprint was not able to pick up many spots.
I finished 15th in a field of 35. Still not a horrible finish.
Overall, I was happy with my races at the Gateway Cup. I wanted to finish in the top 50% of the field and managed to do so (not including my DNF on Saturday). More importantly, we had a fantastic weekend in St. Louis. I can't wait to come back next year!