By: Emily Flynn
The Cyclery-4iiii girls headed down to North Carolina for their first team race of the year; USA Speedweek, part of the USA Crit series.
After a couple of easier days with some café spins, including Amelie’s French Bakery, the first set of races happened this past weekend in Rock Hill and Belmont, South Carolina.
Rock Hill was a great start for the team! I do not think we have ever had such a solid first race of the season. The whole team was at the front and ready for any moves throughout the whole race and being aggressive and attacking as the opportunity presented. This certainly paid off when Kinley, Canadian National Crit Champion, got into the break of the day that only got brought back with one lap to go and tied her as lap leader with the eventual race winner and legend, Tina Pic. Once the break was brought back Ariane was fired up and in position to sprint taking 13th place! It was super awesome to see the team have such a great start and a positive foreshadow for the week to come.
Sunday was a rainy one and meant we were going to be doing our morning spin on the rollers in the garage. However, rollers are always more fun with your teamies and when you are all belting T-Swift at the top of your lungs. Then we headed to Belmont, SC for the second crit of the series. We thankfully found a dry place to warm-up and then made sure to get to the start line early. The key to racing in the rain is to stay confident and if it rains harder to attack. Catherine and Ame had a great spot on the start line, while the rest of us not so much. I mad struggled at the start and had the worst start of my life; I could not clip in. Needless to say, this was not the start I wanted and with it being a hard one off the line due to the first lap prime, I was off the back. However, I continued to chug along and had a revelation on the hill that maybe I should use my gears and shift down to lessen my suffering.
I think this was the turning point for me in the race and once I was finally able to make it back to the group with Amelie. Once there we learned that Catherine was in the break, 45secs ahead! This was great motivation to get to the front in case it was to come back or to go with anything if anyone tried to bridge. Heads up: once there, it is so much nicer then dangling off the back. With about seven laps to go I was sitting comfortable in the pack and getting ready for the sprint. I messed it up a bit, taking the last corner too wide, but ended up finishing 10th! It’s always a good day when you get a top 10 and Catherine took 4th as well as the Gambler’s prime! All of us have already had so many successes in the past two days of racing and learned just as much and cannot wait for the rest of the series.
Now with a couple of days of before the next crit on Wednesday, we eat, sleep and be happy.
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