So is that what it feels like?

The setting was perfect.  Located just 5 miles from my house, the largest city in Marin, San Rafael.  A normally trendy downtown district was turned upside down to house the epic San Rafael Twilight Criterium.  Hay. Lights. Restaurants. Bars. Taquerias. Aww. San Rafael. 

The course was simple.  4 corners. Start/Finish on a false flat up, right turn up a kicker, right turn down a false flat down, right turn down a downhill kicker, and repeat.  The hill was great.  The downhill was great.  The crowds were great.  Two teammates. ARo and Rushums.  What we didn’t have any numbers, we had in spirit.  We needed to be careful, but we needed to race and make every move, never knowing which move would be the one to stick.  Be agressive, ride around in circles really fast, and manage to come up with a result.  Rush brought a friend from NZ that was visiting her.  Just a friend.  Just Alison Shanks, current 2009 World Champion in the individual pursuit, and a gold medalist in the 2008 Olympics for the Team Pursuit.  Just that resume.  No big deal.  Great girl. 

However, we were out-numbered, and out-gunned.  ProMan raced an awesome race.  The attacks started from the start.  We countered, they attacked, we covered, they countered, we covered, they countered, we covered, we attacked…and repeat.  The race was fast.  Really fast.  I soloed three laps in the beginning of the race, and remember looking up at the clock.  56:34 minutes to go.  Ouch.  This could be a long haul.  I got caught.  Rush countered.  The chaos continued.  We never let up on the acceleration.  5 to go.  Alison Shanks attacks.  Rush says, “GO”.  I thought it was the winning move.  Alison and I held off until 1.5 to go.  Tried to organize a lead out for ARo.  She is first through turn 4, and she takes 4th in the sprint.  Rushums finished top 10.  Not a bad day for Team TIBCO.  We got a podium even with all the work ARo did covering moves.  She has a great sprint, and she worked hard the whole race…

As I was drilling it up the climb, shutting down another attack, or trying to work a break…I realized that this is what it must feel like to race against us sometimes.  With the numbers and the power, I was suddenly realizing how much work you have to do when you just have 3 riders.  Wow.  Bike racing is hard.  So much fun.  But so hard.  We could say that we worked to hard.  We are used to being the “worker bees” so we didn’t necessarily race for one rider.  We didn’t know what card to play.  However, I don’t know if I would change our race much.  We raced.  We covered, and we didn’t let them dictate.  I refuse to just sit in and take it easy.  I will race my bike.  I will make it hard, and nothing will go up the road without a Team TIBCO represented.  We will always do that.  We won’t always get results, but most of the time we will.  Great race. 

After the race, it made my day to see so many friendly faces.  So many smiles, and hugs from great friends.  Marc Schneidman and Craig Cramer from my former class!  It made me so happy to see you there…thanks for the support from the Thirsty Bear Clan…the positive words from Katherine Hamiliton, who told me to think outside of myself…to see the bigger picture…I can imagine that…and I just realized how much fun it is to not only race your bike, but race with the large Marin fan base.  Thank you for being out there, thank you for your encouragement, and thank you for believing in me.  I couldn’t do it without out you.

I realized what it feels like to be outnumbered, but I always realized how it feels to be supported out there.  This is one happy girl.  Now if I can win the next one…

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