This was supposed to be the last time driving down to SC to race the training series. By now, I knew the names of the racers I had to watch out for. Although I had a pretty bad chest cold driving down on Friday, I didn’t want to miss to race. Laughing would make the cough worse so the medicine was being serious and as a German I have an inheritance advantage.
I was very much looking forward to the race on Saturday because it had a hill finish. Going pretty confident into the race, my legs were not as confident and in the second lap, I had to watch the break leaving me behind. I was in the chase group racing for 6th.
The race was practically over. I hoped my cold would give me some kind of break for Sunday but my lungs were well stuck up with other stuff than oxygen. Adding to that, the weather was rainy and cold – a perfect combination to make me sicker. The race course was the same as last Sunday where I broke away in lap 1 and finished second.
Due to the miserable weather conditions, our field at the starting was slim, something like 15 starters. When the race started, it wasnt raining so I chose not to wear any rain gear. Our first lap was fast enough that we didn’t get cold and no one attacked. I was second or third wheel the entire time.
The two girls ahead of me started whispering. Time for me to do something. So on the second lap, I chose to attack on an uphill and got a gap but I got caught by a HeadStrong girl, Christina, who immediately offered that we work together. Another girl, Erin, bridged up and we started pushing the pace; however, we were pulling the peloton around, which caught up to us. I let them know and we slowed down significantly.
Starting the third lap, Erin, attacked at the beginning of that very same hill I attacked the lap before. When she slowed down during the uphill, I passed her. It was completely her intention. I knew I couldnt break away from her so I asked if she wanted to work together. We both sped up over the hill and after a few seconds, looking back we were down to seven people, basically split the field.
We started pacelining at a very high pace and we lost four riders in the following few minutes. So down to four people. By that time, heavy rain was pouring on us and when we finished the third lap we were surprised by the bell – only four laps instead of five.
Half way into the last lap, Erin pushed the pace, especially on the uphills and we lost another racer – it was only Erin, Christina, and I. Erin suddenly attacked on the same uphill I did two laps ago but she couldn’t get a gap on us.
Erin and Christina knew each other and were working together. Since I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake as the previous Saturday, I started to sit in the back and didn’t pull anymore.
I was watching carefully what games they wanted to play but besides swaying they was not much. In the last quarter of the final lap, Christina started pulling and Erin was sitting on my wheel. 1.5k to go, she attacked us but I stuck to Christina’s wheel, worried that my chest congestion would kick in and I would get dropped. Erin got away and Christina pulled me to the finish line. 200m to go and I started sprinting and this time won the sprint.