Project 5 Racing

Lake Bluff NCC Crit – June 1, 2012

My first NCC racing experience. Yes, I am totally intimidated. Names I only read about, faces I only see in magazines are rolling around the Lake Bluff neighborhood. My belly is flopping. Once the course is opened for the women, I quickly take my perch at the staging area to improve my start position.

The call-ups start – names like Laura Van Gilder, Erica Allar, and so many others. I am wedged into the group, all anxious to roll up to the start after call-ups. We roll – and I get elbowed as a “more pro” looking girl wedges into the space next to me. So this is how it will be?

I prepare for the whistle – but rather than the whistle, we are asked to remove our helmets for the National Anthem. Oh, those few extra minutes extend the anxiety. Almost immediately after “…and the Brave.” the whistle goes. And the field goes!!! Cyclo-cross style start – I wasn’t ready for that.

Course is tight with a left turn into a chicane with a few more left/rights before the only straight-away into the start/finish. Short loop. I stay with the pack for a few laps, surging into the straight-away. Dang this is fast – or feels that way.

Then the pack fades. I chase for a few laps, join a few other riders as we chase, and a few laps later we are pulled. The experience is not over yet as I watch the remaining women race with speed and ferociousness. Devon Haskell (NOW) who congratulated my after my first win a few years ago when she raced in Chicago is in a break-away. She goes on to win. Others from our area, Kristen Meshberg (SpiderMonkeys) and Jannette Rho (LPV), finish with the pack. Awesome.

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