For months Alice, Steph, and myself have talked about getting together to practice team attacks. Did these practices ever happen? Well…uh….no. But we really gave the concept a lot of lip service. Does that count for anything?
This past Saturday Alice and I rode together for about 45 minutes to warm up for the O’Fallon Gold Cup. Did we discuss a strategy for the race? No. I think we discussed the weather and other such weighty topics like what a bummer all of the hills on the course were going to be.
“Cat 4 women to the line!” yelled Buddy. We rolled on up. The start line was on an uphill grade. I decided to forego my newly learned “look cool” pose where you sit on your top tube. I elected to stay up in my saddle to get more leverage when the whistle blew.
The whistle blew and we were off. We slowly grinded up the first hill. The first few laps went by with a yawn. Then it happened. As we were tooling down the back side of the course at a less than blistering 15 mph, someone, I never did figure out who, said, “Let’s just keep this pace the whole race”. A switch went off in my brain. The switch was loosely tied to the notion that attacks should come as a surprise to your competitors. To attack after such a statement was made would surely be a surprise. Kind of like reverse-psychology. Maybe I am reading too much into the situation. Anyway, I decided to go for it and got out my hammer.
I pedaled like a mo fo, looking down between my legs for shadows behind me as I went. As I passed the start-finish line, Carrie yelled out that Alice was coming up to me. Cool!
Something that we had always talked about and threatened to practice was actually happening. It had happened more by accident than by design, but the Hub girls had completed a successful attack as a team. Wow. Pinch me I must be dreaming! For the remainder of the race we took turns pulling. Alice pulled on the hills and I pulled on the flats. I can’t begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction from executing something you’ve always dreamed of doing.
As we came into the final lap I felt as if I was suffocating. I was about as dizzy as if I’d taken a ride on the Tilt O Whirl. Alice began to pull away. I managed to suck in enough air to mount one last effort to catch her. No dice. It really didn’t matter. Alice is a heck of a rider and deserved the win. She is also my team mate. We won as a team. I joined a team to ride as part of a team. If I wanted to ride as an individual, I wouldn’t have joined the Hub team and would have simply purchased a plain jersey and had “ME” embroidered on it. I have to say that finishing second as part of a team effort was every bit, if not more gratifying, than finishing first after an individual effort.
I can’t wait to team up on the competition again.