This past Sunday in Evanston began the woman’s 3/4 series of Superweek. Sacha, Angie and I had all committed to racing at least 5 races each and we were all excited to race with each other again. Sacha started out the series alone in Evanston and finished 7th. On Monday for the Whitnall Park Road Race, the three of us were all ready to race together. We all got a little too excited and did too much work in the first half of the race. By about 4 laps to go, we all hit a wall around the same time and ended up finishing at the back of the pack.
Tuesday went much better, we had all learned our lessons from Monday- don’t do so much work, let the other girls and teams else work for us, and don’t do anything without a reason to do it! Coming into the last lap, I think we all had pretty good positions in the field for some strong finishes. After the last corner, I forgot how much distance there was until the start/finish and started my sprint too soon. I was leading it out and at the last second a bunch of girls came around me. I knew what my mistake was but in spite of it was happy to have finished 10th- in the money.
This morning, despite the threat of rain, the three of us were ready to race the Lakefront Road Race. Just as we were lining up it started to sprinkle on us. By the time we started, the rain had become more steady. We knew that going down St. Mary’s hill would be especially sketchy in the rain so I settled in at 3rd wheel to try to avoid any crashes. Turns out, the hill was like ice, we came around the switchback and the first two girls slid out, and I barely kept myself upright. A little shaken up, I continued down and on with the race. Second time around, we all approached the hill a little more cautiously and this time I was second wheel. The first girl and I slid out this time. Faster than I could realize what was going on I was on the ground. The field passed and I remember Angie passing and asking if I was okay. Luckily, the wet roads kept me from any major damage and I ended up with just a couple minor bumps and bruises and my bike didn’t have a scratch. The other girl and I got back on our bikes and- very cautiously!- continued down and began our chase back to the field. We caught them just before Lafayette Hill and I caught up to Angie and Sacha again and they both seemed to be relieved that I was back. We had to regain our position in the field. The next lap or two went by fairly uneventful and just before start/finish with one to go a girl attacked. I hadn’t really planned on doing a lot of work for the rest of the race- after crashing I was a little nervous and just wanted to finish with the field. I had just finished a gel and no one really responded to her attack and I had good position to chase so I just went for it. I caught her and we started to drill it when she realized her rear wheel was going flat so she dropped back. I still had a decent gap on the field so I kept going. Two other girls bridged up to me and the three of us drilled it as hard as we could, until we were coming back down Lincoln Memorial and the field caught us. I was determined not drop back into the field and claimed 4th or 5th wheel. The sprint started and one girl was leading it, and myself and two other girls were fighting hard, wheel for wheel, for second place. At the last second another girl came around us and got second, so I knew I at least got top 5. Turns out I got 3rd place! It was definitely a wild day of racing at the Lakefront, crashing and still making podium!
Sacha and I will be racing Racine and Kenosha, Thursday and Friday, and Angie and Dana will be joining us for the last two races of the series at Humboldt Park and Whitefish Bay on Saturday and Sunday. Come on out and cheer on the Hollander ladies!