Friday, April 30, 2010

Melissa -- a solo warrior

Team Velo Girls member, Melissa Hick, shares her experience at her very first criterium:


Wente Vineyards Classic Criterium: April 25, 2010

Photo by

So here goes. My first race report for my first-ever crit! Angela and I went to Livermore on Sunday and raced the Wente Criterium. We arrived at about 11:30 a.m. that morning for our 12:50 p.m. start time ready to go. We were both nervous/excited for the race, but I think my nerves rubbed off on Angela a bit. I was literally twitching with anticipation the whole way there.

I set up my trainer in the shade and got a decent warm-up as I watched the Master's 45+/55+ and Junior races. Our race started at 1 p.m. (a few minutes behind because of a bad crash during the master's race) with a full field of
Cat 4 racers.

Next thing I know, we're off! I clipped in without any issues (thank goodness) and headed for the first sweeper turn with the pack straight for the bots dots. Good thing I went to the Early Bird clinics because I knew I could roll right over those bots dots and not get squirrelly.

Even though Angela and I didn't have the best position at the line at the start, we worked our way up to the pack. The pace was quick from the get-go and I just kept telling myself to stay on a wheel and reserve my energy! The pack set up for the next tight, right turn, and then we were on a long straightaway. We were flying and I was having a blast! I stayed with the pack for about 3 laps and even though the mentor riding with us during the race kept encouraging me to stay on the wheel in front of me, eventually I popped off the back.

When I came around for the fourth lap, I was a "solo warrior" as the announcer called it. I kept going, paying attention to how I should set up for each turn and powering through the windy straightaways. I was out there by myself for a bit and each time I came through the start/finish line, the announcer and the crowd cheered me on. That really helped me keep going even though my legs were not happy.

I got lapped by the pack a couple times, and with 3 laps to go I saw Angela and a Tibco II rider behind me so I jumped on a wheel and hung on for dear life. We worked together for the rest of the race, but when we came around for the bell lap, the officials were flagging us because there had just been a crash. We moved around the girl laying on the pavement, worried about what had happened (still not sure exactly). We finished up our last lap with a "photo finish" - me on Angela's wheel crossing the line.

All in all, it great fun and I can't wait to do it again. Thanks to all my amazing teammates who wished me good luck/congrats. Who's ready for round two in Livermore for the PG&E crit?!

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