A spitting drizzle arrived three hours before the start of the UCI C1 Women's elite race on day one of Ruts 'N Guts 2016. With each practice lap, the course changed, new lines appeared, and the scientist in me began to experiment. First with the up and downhill sand pits, next with the creek crossings, and finally with tire pressure.
A front row start next to a host of heavy hitters! The whistle, and we were off. An early creek crossing yo-yoed the field and I had to put a foot down. The squeal of brakes in a sketchy corner (that would get sketchier as the race wore on, claiming riders). #KatieFnCompton was immediately out of sight and 10 seconds off the front by the time we finished the first lap, and never looked back (well, that we could see!).
A group of six formed the chase, testing, charging through the straightaways, bobbles in corners, feeding off the energy of the crowds cheering from the Craft Beer festival going on concurrently.
The front group was slowly whittling down, but the course was changing and it was still anyone's second place. I was getting more creative with my lines, mostly successfully. I tried out Kaitie Antonneaus's line on a "choose your own adventure" section, which works great... if your short (requires a tight sliding turn). Doh!
Then there were three-ish! Kaitie, Rebecca Fahringer, and I battled all the way through the final lap, but I burned all my matches, drained my tank, and my quads had no answer for me on the final straightaways. I rode the bumper in 4th place, still smiling, clutching my fistful of UCI points.
Mijn sokken zijn te vies