As I headed to Forest Park for the first annual Great Forest Park Bike Race, I had the feeling it was going to be a great day. In a way, it had to be. It was, after all, Steph’s Birthday. It was the first local crit of the year. The first test.
As we lined up at the start I looked around to see what I was up against. On the surface, things looked much different than last year. The sea of Team Rev teal and red was not present. Allison was in Momentum red. Alice, Steph, and myself were in Hub green and yellow. Susan was decked out in Ghisallo yellow. Cory was sporting a rather stylish, as usual, black and orange kit. Our outfits had changed but our souls had not. Under all the different jerseys were Revers. The attitude and sisterhood were alive and well.
Thankfully the Cat 4 Women’ s race proceeded at a more “race like” pace than Froze Toes. I was leading into the last turn and then was swept past by the field. This is a pattern that has played out over and over in my racing career. I am a slow learner. After the race Allison (Sandbagger who won the race. Just kidding.) thanked me for the pull. We were on different teams, but I think I will always feel like we are team mates. “ No problem” I replied.
A lot of milestones were set in that race. A race that, to the naked eye, may have been considered rather insignificant. Cory finished strong. Bye bye crit phobia. Susan Kloha finished strong too in one of her first crits. Steph, I wasn’t there to see it but I heard you had one heck of a sprint. Happy Birthday! Allison? Well Allison won. What else is there to say? Way to go Allison. Alice? Well Alice, as usual was right in the thick of things at the front of the pack. Way to go Secret Weapon! If you want to know where Alice is, just look ahead of you.
Okay, let’s discuss the women’s open race. Hmm….The word domination comes to mind. There were really two races. Let’s discuss the breakaway pack first. Carrie attacked and made the rest of the field look like they were riding on flat tires. Chris caught up and then, with 2 laps to go, good night Irene. Chris lit it up and broke off like a Ferrari. For 2 laps she maintained a blistering pace that almost hurt to watch. With Chris off the pack and certain victory at hand, the next focus was on Carrie and the other two riders in the break. As they approached the finish line, I looked at Traci and we both agreed…”no brainer”. Yep. Seconds later Carrie smoked past the other 2 riders to take second.
The next chapter was the rest of the women’s open field. Teresa and Jamie, new to this category, rode like they’d been there their whole lives. They hung tough and put on one heck of a sprint. Cat 3?
As I lay in the grass splitting a post ride cider with Allison, I just couldn’t help but think, “what a day”. This is why I ride.
P.S. A big thanks to Dennis Fickinger for capturing the early women’s races! Two of his photos are above. Check out the rest at http://www.ficksphotos.com/