Sunday, May 3, 2015

Houston Grand Criterium

How Grand

The Coldspring Road Race left Catie and I waiting for what seemed like 4 hours (in all reality it was probably closer to two hours) for results/payout. In the hot sun. We eventually made our way to Houston and devoured the best sandwich of my life in Rice Town at Local. Then with full bellies, we checked into the DoubleTree hotel where Kim joined us! It has been a LONG time since the three of us had been together so after catching up we headed to the BRC (Big Red Cock) for dinner.

Dinner at BRC Kim, me, Catie 
We made it back to the hotel in time to watch the Spurs lose their final game. :-(  It was about that time that my allergies started to flare up. My runny nose quickly turned into a clogged and runny nose - the kind where you shove a tissue up each nostril and don't care who points and laughs. I searched my bags for Benadryl but no luck. I had only an emergency Zyrtec. No relief. Ugh!!! The three of us get to share one king size bed since no one wanted the nasty fold out couch mattress. However, we deployed the mattress in the corner of the room just incase an exile was warranted.
We were such a mess: Catie was snoring louder than a lumber jack and I was sniffling and covered in snotty tissues, and Kim has trouble sleeping with all of her ankle pain. Kim found a nice White Noise App on her phone to drown out the snoring and nursed me through the night. By 8am we were all up and my face was swollen and my nose was red and raw. It was now that Catie offered up the beautiful pink Benadryl pill I had dreamed of ALL night. It reminded me of dumb and dumber when Harry offers up his extra gloves at the end of a freezing ride.
"You had these gloves the whole time!?!?"
But I was desperate and too grateful to bring that up or get mad.  The next few hours we went through the normal pre-race routine of checking out and eating breakfast, etc.

RCM was extra lucky that Ken provided the sprinter van for the team gathering place. Seven RCM ladies were registered for the open race and loaded into the van for the team meeting. Kim laid out the plan; she has been an essential tool in our strategy and success at the end of the races. We had the finishing plan, the order of the lead out train and the location on the course when it would happen. We all dispersed to finish our own pre race routines (warming up, stretching, other shenanigans)
Kim gathering the heard.

Ready, Steady, GO! Kriten-Kirsten, Kate, Ash, Rhe, Nadia, Leila and I take off. No time for lolly gagging, Meredith takes off, pushing our heart rates to the red line.
 Most of the next 45ish minutes are a blur. There are different attacks but nothing will stick. There was a stud from Columbia who races for Dallas Racing and has been doing well on the national circuit who snagged all the merchandise primes. Us RCM girls stayed active and very present in the front of the race. We seemed to be marking our target girls well. Rhe, Nadia, and Leila were sacrificing themselves, covering some attacks and we tried to counter a few.
The time ticked on and lap cards started to show up. Five laps to go! Wait, wasn't there a big cash prime still left to give out?!
The race is almost over. Three to go and the bell rings. $900 prime on the line. We had discussed our finish but not really gotten much into a definite plan for the prime. I decided to stand by and go for it if possible. We came around the wide turn and just under the bridge (~250M) the pace increased. I went for it - as hard as I could go. No one was next to me. For a brief second I thought it was ours! But then I saw Columbia out of the corner of my eye zip past me to pip me for the $900. Frick! Her cadence was twice what mine was and I left her a nice little ally protected from the wind to come around me. I didn't believe that I did until the video provided as evidence (still stinging a week later). But couldn't cry over it, I had to recover for the lead out. I started to get nervous because the pack was tight and there didn't seem to be much moving around. Kate, being the savy pro that she is, appeared in front of me like a magic trick. And Kirsten behind me. Ash was boxed in further back and still winded from sprinting for the prime also. We were at a half lap and lined up three deep. Kate took us! She jumped before the double turn and we hit the straight away. She carried us to her drop point but I yelled for her to keep going. "FASTER!!!!" I yelled. She said she was sprinting. I wasn't quite ready to go around but hoped my legs wouldn't fail. I went around her just past the bridge and heard Kirsten tell me she was there. YES! I was hugging the right side of the road and opened up enough to let Kirsten around.

The Lead out. KATE, me, KRITEN!
 She went at the perfect time and no one could come around! Perfect execution! I could hear Kim at the finish line screaming. FLAWLESS! The #hitsquad were the stars of the day. Perfect team work.

Kate, Nadia, Kim, Rhe, Leila, Ash, me, Kirsten
RCM Racing #hitsquad,  +1 extra Catie girl
Best team ever

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