52, 44, 35, 15, 17, 1:10: Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want

But why must I relearn the same lesson as if it’s the first time?  Yesterday’s World Cup race in Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic was good, but fell short of being fantastic through a combination of being too impatient early on and too patient later on.

After a fumbled start taking forever to get my pedal, but luckily avoiding two huge crashes I was in the swarm.  A couple minutes in however, I saw some opportunities to move up by taking the inside of corners.  I got chopped once, but didn’t learn and tried to go inside on the next corner as well.  This time I was forced off my bike and running and lost precious spots.  On this course every rider between you and the front is dangerous as the descents offer little or no passing.  By the time I got to the start/finish line at the end of the start loop I was still 18 riders back and 52 seconds.

Charge.  With large gaps formed between riders it was hard to make headway.  I was able to make up 10 seconds lap 1 and move up to 10th, but had to sit in on descents knowing I was wasting needed time.   Oh to be able to set my own rhythm!  I really felt for the people that are always racing in traffic.  It definitely makes it hard to race at your potential.  At times you are forced to just relax and wait for a passing opportunity watching the race ride away from you, but if you lose focus you lose your passing opportunity and are stuck again.

 I fought back against the negative thoughts creeping in my head.  Still in 10th after 25 minutes of racing was not where I like to be, but the race was not over and every position counted.

By the end of lap 2 the gap was down again, this time to 35 seconds and the race was coming together in front of me.  I became more motivated.  I just had to make contact.

Lap 3 and the front of the race was changing complexion.  Katerina, who had been riding absolutely beautifully off the front had been reeled in by Bressette and Kalentieva and later, Maja, Blaza and Leuman.  Georgia and I were working together in 7 and 8th.

Lap 4 and I eventually made contact with the leaders.  I of course have lost all track of laps at this point (I had to watch the replay to know how my race took shape).  I had no idea the final lap was approaching.  I connected with Irina and Julie, 3rd! and  rode with them for awhile.  But they were ready to set into final lap mode, where I just thought, finally I got here!  Before I know it they have put 10 seconds on me in the last climb of lap 4.  By the start finish it is 17seconds.

Lap 5 Julie proves she is the worthy winner, cleaning the slick rocky climb none of the other women have mastered.  She gets 10 seconds on Irina here and goes on to build her lead to 28 seconds for the win.  Katerina and Georgia have bridged up to me.  I stop thinking about racing for the win and settle into following, never a good thing for me.  Katerina gaps Georgia and I try to bridge up on the climb into the final descent.  My legs are definitely juiced, but not done, but when I enter the final climb I get forced off my bike on a rooty climb and for some reason just can’t seem to get back on.  It takes me 3 tries and running half the climb to be successful and by that point Katerina and Georgia are long gone and Blaza has caught me from behind.  On one climb I lost 15+ seconds!!!  Argh.  I push into the finish trying to hold off Maja and finish 11 seconds short of the podium.  Georgia out-sprinted Blaza for 4th.  Katka was 3rd, Georgia 4th and me 6th.  That’s a pretty solid day for Luna. The girls raced so impressively, leaving nothing out on course.

Next week, calculated patience and as ass-kicking attitude in La Bresse.