I think I learn a little and gain confidence at every big race I go to, and this weekend was no exception. I just wish I was a faster learner or that there were more big races in the region, so I could have a few more chances this season!
Clerendon was fun while it lasted, all the big teams were represented (Tibco, Colavita, Mellow Mushroom, Vera Bradley, Peanut Butter & Co) as well as many strong elite regional teams. I found myself in the back at the start, but to my relief a few really experienced riders were back there too and I was able to follow wheels to the front in a lap and a half with little effort. This was the highlight of my day, to experience first hand how gracefully someone can move though the pack. Sadly, I was not able to keep my self exactly where I wanted and it became an up and back effort. It was somewhere around the halfway point when I was in the back of the pack and a rider wrecked. I had to slow down to get between her and her bike, I jumped to try and get back on but was unable to. I rode with a few other riders until we were pulled. The rest of the race was enjoyed from the sideline, the sprint was awesome, with Miller and Cliff-Ryan elbow to elbow (until Cliff-Ryan hit a bump and slid head first for 10 feet on pavement). Miller won.
Crystal City is a more open course with more room to move up on the outside, and it is twice as long at 2k. The corners were fast and most of the same riders were racing, but Tibco and Mellow Mushroom were not there. Again I started in the back, but my goal in this race was to keep working on placement and efficiently moving around in the peleton. My efforts paid off, and when the primes started coming, and the attacks started going, I was able to stay with the group because I was not so far back. I even got a prime. When it came time to get ready for the sprint the pace got slow because a break of three was up the road (Farina, Cheatley, and Silliman). I got to the front with 2 laps to go getting ready for the pace to pick up. I was not aggressive enough, though and lost the position by the time the pace got fast and started the sprint from the back. Sarah Caravella took the sprint for 4th.
Photo from Kevin