8 December 2008 | Race Reports
USGP #5, #6: Portland, OR- Race Report
Well, the USGP series is officially over, and I was unable to defend my title. However, if you have to lose, it’s better to lose to your teammate so it was good that Katerina was able to take it. Here’s how it went down:
We arrived in Portland on Friday and were greeted by- believe it or not- sunny skies. The weather held out for Saturday’s race which was fast and relatively dry save for one giant mud puddle. I got a terrible start on Saturday, but my legs felt so good I wasn’t worried at all. After one lap, there was a group of 5 of us at the front: me, Katerina, Rachel, Sue and Wendy. Sue and Wendy popped after a couple laps leaving me, Katerina and Rachel. I was so worried about the tactics that I didn’t use my usual strategy of just riding really hard the whole time (don’t ask me why…). Because there were some longer straightaways, I was worried about towing everyone around. We each put in a few hard attacks, but there was definitely some riding-around-not-that-fast. By the last lap, Rachel was still with us, and Katerina attacked going through the start/finish. I sat on Rachel and let Katerina open up a gap, then I attacked Rachel and tried to bridge up to Katerina. I was reeling her in, but I didn’t have enough time, and I ended up finishing about 5 seconds behind her. Pretty frustrating considering how good I was feeling, but a solid result nonetheless.
Sunday the skies opened up and there were a couple hours of steady rain that turned the course into a slippery mess. Again, I had a less than ideal start which, when combined with a few mistakes I made early on, set me up to chase for the whole race. Katerina and Wendy got off the front early, with Sue close behind. By the start of the second lap, Katerina was of the front alone, and I had caught and passed Wendy and Sue. I was feeling pretty good and riding well in the muddy conditions, but Katerina was on fire, she hardly let up the whole time which meant the gap stayed about the same the whole time. There were a few spots where I was stronger and a few spots where she was stronger, but she was able to maintain the gap the whole time and again, I finished less than 10 seconds back. I was definitely more pleased with my race on Sunday- I gave a consistent hard effort and pushed myself the whole time.
It was a bummer not to win the series, but it was pretty cool that Katerina and I tied for points- she took the series because she had a higher placing in the final race. I am lucky to have a teammate that I can battle with all season! And sometimes you need a good kick-in-the-pants to get you fired up for the next race.
Now I am back in Colorado and looking forward to racing at the National Championships this weekend. Then, it’s off to Europe next Thursday- I can hardly wait. I hear Belgium is beautiful this time of year…