Stage 1: Uphill prologue.
5k and just over 11 minutes of speed and power was the plan for the day. I put on my Champion Systems speedsuit (like a skinsuit, but even faster), my special Lazer time trial (TT) helmet, and my most aero Mavic shoe covers on. I wasn't expecting to win the darn TT (hey, it's not my specialty), I just wanted to give it my best shot.
Out of the gate everything was going well. Our mechanic Adrian set up my Orbea TT bike (outfitted with HED bars that I chose earlier in the season, and a set of HED wheels) perfectly. I was keeping an aero position with my head down low, only looking a few feet ahead at a time. I hugged the right side of the road. I figured it was the best line. Then, BAM. An orange fence appeared in front of me and I rode into it. Embarassing, frustrating, disappointing? I don't know. I just convinced myself not to let it get to me, to refocus, and keep going. Easier said than done.
The orange fence was a baracade that closed off the sides of the racecourse to cars and pedestrians. At a certain point where I obvioulsy wasn't expecting it, the orange fence cut into the road, tapering the width of the course somewhat. That's where it caught me, like a rodent trap.
Looking back I hope that somebody saw me and got a kick out of the whole deal. At least I'd feel like it was somewhat worth it. haha.
Stage 2: City of Beaumont Circuit Race
Traditionally, this stage is heavily influenced by the winds in Beaumont, especially in the long, straight, flat, unsheltered sections. In 2012 it wasn't windy. Just breezy.
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefits Strategies rode a super race. We were agressive, attacking and counter attacking, and getting into every significant break attempt throughout the day. We don't race with radios anymore, so halfway into the race, Denise dropped back to get some news from our director Rachel in the race caravan. Denise brought all of us extra bottles. It's easier to "feed" from the caravan sometimes than to grab a feed (a bottle!) in the feedzone on the course when all of the other riders are struggling to find their soigneurs posted at the side of the road, and grab their bottle as they whiz by. It's a hectic area of the racecourse most times.
It was important not to give up a good place in the peloton in the feed zone because shortly afterwards, the race went into it's most technical section. There were a few twisty uphill pitches with a bit of narrow downhill roads thrown in which make me think of Europe. It's best to be at the front of the pack at this point in the race. Especially because the battle for the Queen of the Mountains (QOM) intermediate sprint points would happen at the top of the final ascent, so the pace would be cranked up significantly on the tough-ish climb. Jade and Courteney scored all of the QOM points for the day, and we set up Joëlle on every lap to get her the maximum amount of points at the intermediate sprints. The result was: Green Sprinter's jersey for Joëlle Numainville, and Red Queen of the Mountains jersey for Jade Wilcoxson. I took a flyer at the end of the race, misinterpreting Jade's "GO Lex!" which meant, ramp up the pace, not crank it like a wildwoman. I knew that I had a gap on the field, and it was taking a while for it to be filled. I wondered if I would stay away, and wondered where Joëlle and Jade were too but I didn't dare look back, I wanted to keep the speed up. Specialized-Lulu Lemon brought me back in the final corner with several hundred metres to go, with Joëlle and Jade on their wheels. Joëlle just barely, barely missed the highest step of the podium for the day, crossing the line in second place.
A super finish, two jerseys, and a great day. There are two stages left, the downtown criterium and Sunset, another circut race... We want orange EVERYWHERE. Good job girls.