Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Gateway Cup St. Louis

So I never got around to telling everyone how Tour of KC went. I went there wanting to get some experience in a larger field and that is what I did. The road race was around 30 women and the crit was about 25. This included cat 123 and 4 women so the races were fast and furious thanks to a ton of extrememly talented 123 women leading the pack. Despite some hills, I felt that I held my own with the big girls. I ended up 4th in the road race and 1st in the crit for the cat 4's. In the crit I also placed 10th overall which I thought was pretty sweet. Kelly crushed her competition in the beginner 4's race and cornered like a champ in the crit showing up a few cat 5 men. I think we both felt a lot better about our abilities after each race than we had felt going into the weekend. That being said, I think tour of KC also gave me the confidence I needed to sign up for a long weekend of crits at Gateway Cup.
What I was expecting going into Gateway was to be racing with the 123's in a pretty large field. Instead the cat 4 women started 30 seconds after the 123's and got to run their own race. Because of this, each race was a lot slower than I was expecting and I had to learn how to be patient and wait for things to happen. You may also have to exercise patience while reading this, as it may get a little long. Anyway, here is how this weekend went.
Friday was my first night time race ever. It was a little difficult trying to decide which shadow was actually a racer on your wheel and which was really a shadow. There were about 16 racers and I didn't want to end up getting dropped off the back so I tried to stay in the top 5 the whole race. That wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be since everyone was glad to let me do the work. I pulled quite a few laps and got outsprinted for the premes cause I was working too hard up front. I ended up 8th because I didn't sprint hard enough in the end. No big deal, I learned not to stay up front the whole time. Tomorrow I'll be smarter.
Saturdays race I decided I didn't like the slower pace of Friday and I would go out strong and make the field come get me. So I went hard from the start and had two laps to myself before the field caught me, then I tried to just sit in and let them do the work. But I again got tired of waiting for things to happen, so after each preme lap I went for the breakaway. I didn't stay away for very long, but at least I made the field work to come and get me. Going into the final lap I was again pulling the field along. The finishing straight away was a slight uphill and a lot longer than I had thought. I started my sprint too soon and couldn't hold it so I ended up 6th.
Sunday I knew I wouldn't be able to go on a breakaway by myself so I really tried to take shorter pulls and sit to the back a bit more. I did a pretty good job of it, especially on the uphill where I made it a point to be on a wheel instead of up front. I tried a few breakaways after preme laps and on one occasion I took the corner a little too fast. Note to self, do not lock up brakes going into a turn...I skidded, rear wheel came off the ground, front almost hit the curb, let go of the brakes, corrected, called myself an idiot, then regained my composure. Two girls behind me almost went down also, but thankfuly no one did. After that I took it a little easier on the corners. The pack came back together and then another gal attacked on the hill. I was taking my turn in the back and didn't go with the attack so ended up in the chase group. The chase group was obviously tired and didn't make any ground on the leaders so we ended up sprinting for 4th place. I finally had myself in a good spot for the final sprint and didn't let anyone come around me.
Monday's race was a good end to the weekend. The course wasn't very difficult with only one long incline. The back stretch was shaded and the finishing stretch was down hill, can't complain about that! I put myself in the back to start with so I could see who was willing to work at the front. I sat in until the first preme lap, then I went with the front group because I didn't want to be caught in the chase group today. The backstretch was slightly uphill and a few attacks happened here but got pulled back in pretty quickly. Thirty minutes in, a gal attacks up the hill and I was in the middle of the pack. I said watch the right side and a few girls jumped to get on her wheel. I take the last wheel and we go after her, but she and one other gal pull away. The chase is on! I try to get the gals in the chase group organized to each take a short pull then move off so we can gain some ground. It works briefly, but the gap is growing so I take the front and pull hard for a a few laps. We drop some girls and the chase group is down to three. With five laps to go, it doesn't look like we are going to catch the leaders so we ease up a bit and take turns at the front. We get to our final lap with one turn to go and here comes the 123's on their final lap also. During the rest of the race, the cat 4's had been encouraged to pull to the side and let the 123's pass. I wasn't sure what to do since I didn't want to slow up going into the final sprint, but I also didn't want to get caught up in the 123's field sprint either. I pull to the left side and sprint through the finish with the 123's everywhere. I lost track of the other two girls that were in the chase group with me and thought I had come in fifth. Turns out I was third and I had taken two premes.
Overall, it was a learning experience. I found out that it's not necessarily how strong or fast you are, but how smart you are. I also decided that it is easier to have a team mate with you because then you can count on someone to work with you. I got frustrated a lot this weekend because no one would work with me or even work at the front. Patience is definatley a necessity and being aware of who is where at all times is extremely important. I got beat a few times because I didn't keep track of the right people.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I am definatley looking forward to doing it again! Thanks to Carrie and Chris for a place to stay and to St. Louis Revolution for hosting an awesome race. I didn't take any pictures myself, but check out this site and click on the
Gateway cup links to see a ton of cool photos from each race.


Adrian_O said...

What a race! Great job Janna!

LoupGarou said...

Great job and great report Jana.

VeloCC said...

Hopefully, my road racing will be better next year and I will be able to help you in those races!!
You rock Janna!
I loved your bike tonight. I meant to mention something.

c_c_rider said...

good job at making the others wake up and do some racing. i'm sure you'd have stayed away if you hadn't been sick. congrats, you'll do better next time.

c_c_rider said...

janna in action

c_c_rider said...

that green jersey is easy to spot.

Adrian_O said...

I didn't get enough info Janna-maybe a little more detail?

sydney_b said...

Love reading the recap, Janna. You don't talk enough. :D