Boise, Idaho (7/10/21)
I always look forward to going to Boise every year for the annual Twilight criterium. Not only is the racing fun, but the crowds are always amazing and the town itself is super cool. The only down side is that it’s always crazy hot during July in Boise. However, no matter where I go the heat never seems to quite match the stifling heat and humidity of my home state of Florida. Thankfully our team had ice vests and plenty of ice socks and blocks to stuff our kits with before the race, which signficantly helped keep the core body temperature down.
The course was the same as it always had been: four corners, flat and fast. There were only four of us from the team racing, so we went in with the plan to focus on keeping good position at/near the front of the race and let other bigger teams do most of the work for us when it came down to attacking and covering attacks. Then at the end of the race, for the final two turns before the finish, my job was to be at the front of the group with Sofia (our sprinter) on my wheel so that I could give her a lead out for the finish. Of course the race was very fast from the beginning but I made sure to fight to keep good positioning near the front of the group the whole time. There were a few crashes throughout the race which thankfully we all avoided, but after a severe one, the race was neutralized and we re-started with just a few laps to go. Unfortunately that was when Sofia found herself farther back in the group due to trouble clipping in after the neutral start, and with only a few laps to go, there sadly wasn’t enough time for her to make it all the way back to the front. Therefore, I found myself sprinting solo at the end for 8th. Even though the race didn’t go according to our plan, we still learned a lot and had a blast racing!
After the race, we stayed the rest of the weekend and following week in Boise where we had a mini training camp that included racing up the Bogus Basin climb followed by a yoga session at the top. We also did a local crit race that included some local pros and the Legion men’s team (ouch), some fun endurance rides, photo shoots, and even floated down the Boise River on our last day. Overall a very fun and eventful trip!
Salt Lake City, Utah (7/17/21-7/18/21)
At the end of our week in Boise, we drove straight to Park City, Utah where we were set to stay during the Salt Lake City Criterium weekend. I was particularly excited to go to Utah because I’d never raced the SLC crits before and I also believe that Utah is one of the most beautiful states that exist.
Saturday was the first of two days of racing. The course was fairly technical with some tight turns, cobbles, cracks, and other uneven spots on various parts. We went into it with pretty much the same plan we had for Boise: stay safe near the front and let other teams do the work so that we could save our energy for near the end of the race and help Sofia get the win. The race was fast from the start and thankfully this time around, we all did much better with staying near each other and towards the front during the race. Sadly, with five or six laps to go, I got caught up in an unavoidable crash and went down pretty hard along with several others. I got up pretty quickly but soon realized my bars were totally crooked, making my bike unrideable. I knew that there were no free laps inside of eight to go, so I assumed I was done and began walking back to the start/finish. However, once I got there, I was told they had neutralized the race and were letting those who crashed to hop back in and re-start with the rest of the field, with the exception of being recorded as finishing one lap down. I then quickly hopped back in with my spare bike and we were back to racing with just five laps to go. Thankfully I only had a bit of road rash from the crash, so other than some pain in my right arm, I felt okay and was able to push through the rest of the race. On the last lap going into the last couple turns, I found myself sitting 4th wheel with Sofia right behind me — a bit farther down than first which is where I should have been in order for us to win the race. It then came down to an all-out sprint to the finish and I ended up crossing the line third and Sofia 5th. Sadly, my third place didn’t count since I technically finished one lap down after being caught up in the crash, but that also meant that Sofia ended up 4th. Even though we didn’t win, it was still a great race and we all had fun together as a team!
The next day’s crit course was relatively much tamer and straight forward. We went into the race with the same plan as yesterday, except my job was to come out of the last corner (instead of the last two corners) in first, with Sofia on my wheel so that she could have a lead out from there to the finish. The race went to plan almost the entire time and we even had one of our teammates Charlotte do a massive solo attack which stuck for a good ways during the second half of the race. Then on the last turn of the last lap, I made sure be at the very front with Sofia on my wheel, and went all-out from there to the finish. Unfortunately, we misjudged the effort length from that last turn to the finish, and I wasn’t able to give as long of a lead out as planned. Not long after swinging around that last corner, I hit the wind and lost speed fairly quickly, getting swarmed by a bunch of other riders. Sofia then got boxed in and ended up sprinting for 6th. Even though the end didn’t go to plan for us, we both agreed we did our best and improved over the previous day’s race. We also somehow survived the 100+ degree F heat, had a blast, and learned a lot on that final lap!