by Makenzie DeLaughder
The Golden State criterium and circuit race are always one of my favorite courses of the year! It was fun having my teammates Trish and Mei for the race, and I felt that we did a good job working together. About halfway through the race, a woman went off the front and developed a good 30-second gap from the field. Oftentimes I would attack and bridge the gap, but I thought two things. One, the group would probably not let me go and would chase me down because they have seen me break away before. Another thought was that maybe I should try not attacking at all during the race and see what happens. It was strange not attacking, because I’m often attacking and trying to bridge gaps. I sat in for the entire race, and at the end found my teammates and I on the last lap at the very front of the pack. Seeing that we were not in the best position, I jumped out from 3rd or 4th wheel and attacked before the 2nd to last turn. I lead out the pack into the last turn and ended up getting 6th place.
For the circuit race there was Mei and I, and I decided again to watch the pack and see what I could do at the end, in support of the team result. On the second to last lap, I started moving up towards the front, and felt pretty good about my positioning. Just before the chicane, I was 3rd or 4th wheel and was pleased to have finally learned the timing for good positioning! When my team mate Mei came by me and told me to get on her wheel, I followed this move, but unfortunately, as we went through the chicane I ended up on the inside line and consequently got pinched by the curb and the pelotons’ line. I had to brake very hard to avoid hitting Mei’s wheel and the curb on the side, and due to this I lost all my momentum and got 6th place. Lucklily, the riders around me were alert and the corner braking did not cause a crash. I did learn more about navigating through the pack and how to place for a sprint finish. However, since I know that I’m not a sprinter, this race was a good reminder to focus on getting in a break away or coordinating a lead out for a teammate who has that finish line kick that can net us the win. Overall, I learned a lot that weekend and I will try to have more patience with my moves in the pack, and continue to learn more race tactics.