Rochester has been a staple on the calendar for my entire elite career – through venue changes and team changes, equipment swaps and last minute shipment retrievals, this race has always been good to me. It’s a course that has power sections that cater to my pedaling style, and flowy tech that force me to concentrate on being smooth. Last year I was asked to do a clinic on the Friday beforehand, and was asked to come back with Kerry this year. In addition to being asked to do the clinic, race director/course designer took into account one of my course suggestions for this year and a pre-ride scheduling suggestion for next year! Combine this with my longest standing host-housing arrangement with local power-family the Augusts and I think Rochester has to be my vote for personal favorite, it feels like they are trying to roll out a red carpet for my personal success. The only thing holding me back from the top step here is my own self, but I feel it may happen one of these years.
It was a long week between the races in Roanoke and the start line in Rochester. Long only by the feel of my body, like it went through a cement mixer, plagued with soreness and aches. Despite this, I was pedalling to near full potential and ready to tackle the first C1 of the season, and one of only three in the US this year. And, the clinic Kerry and I taught on Friday went well not just for our attendees, but for myself as well! I think we will have another next year, SO SIGN UP NOW!
Saturday, off the line my bike was missing some shifts thanks to some last minute equipment muddling – I drifted deep into the top 10. A very Becca move, so I was not too worried. I charged through as best I could, knowing I should take a new bike in case there was a more serious issue with the bike. Sometimes pitting is only a bit slower than maintaining the race line, and sometimes depending on the conditions it can even be faster. At Rochester, however, it is like getting off of a highway exit and needing to make three left hand turns to get back on instead of just going straight. I lost a spot and a lot of time. I charged back into the race to catch the chase group, as Maghalie Rochette was already leading by an impressive margin. Working so hard to get back to the group, I went straight to the front, afraid of popping off the back. My efforts were not rewarded, as I charged into each technical element like a bull in a china shop. Sometimes it worked out of brute force, but often, the features I was smooth as butter on in pre-ride became places where I was bobbling and losing time and places, often I was going from 2nd to 4th place just because I went headfirst into some fencing. But after that, I would still charge to the front of the group and pull everyone around. Eventually, my own frantic efforts and stupid mistakes chiseled away at my battered body and I drifted to 4th, unable to contend the podium.
I was frustrated with how I felt like I threw away this important race, but happy to find I could be up with the front group. My game plan for day 2 was to ride with the front group and ride those trickier sections even if it meant I had to slow to a snail’s pace. I need to learn the art of calm and patience under pressure. Walk before you can run, but also crawl before you can walk.
On day 2 my start was better, and I was immediately in the front group. I was patient in the first lap, content with sitting in even though Maghalie was already gapping us. Today, I wasn’t racing Maghalie, I was racing my own mind. (but also like I could keep up with here lolololololol). I tried to follow wheels closely, but a couple of times I spent too much time worrying about those wheels instead of my own and had to dab or pop off and run, but once we finished our first lap I went to the front of the group to throw the hammer down and hopefully chisel the group down a little. It worked. We went from a group of 6 to a group of 3-4. But, Clara Honsinger countered my big pull and I just didn’t have the legs or the mind to keep her wheel. With first and second places up the road, it was just the battle for the final podium position left. I wanted that spot, but I also tried to put it out of my mind and ride my own lines, at my own pace. I was sometimes slow, but knowing Kaitie Keough was on my tail I drilled it when I felt it was safe to go a little cross-eyed. With Kaitie bobbling on the “double trouble” feature, I knew the separation would stick, and I was able to finish out the day in 3rd place.
I am a little sad I couldn’t have the same drive and focus on the C1 day, but I am using this mindset and these lessons as we go forward into the World Cups of Jingle Cross and Trek Cup.
The most important thing to note, is our Team Tally.
|Running race tally|
|Ahead (B or K or – tie)||B||–||–||B|