A quick update from Anne Bertucio after her 3rd place finish at Athens Twilight Crit
I came in on a red eye to Atlanta for which I was seated in a block with highschoolers from Alaska on their first school trip, did openers in Atlanta, then had a late night drive to Athens. So rest level = optimal.
The womenâ€™s cat 3/4 qualifer was atÂ 8am. The top five get automatically upgraded and race the pro/1/2 at night. My goal was one of those top five spots.
Due to a thunderstorm+downpour combo, we were taken off the start line and delayed 30 minutes, with everyone already soaked and purple.
The girls went fast off that line; they wanted those damn five spots. 7 or 8 girls started getting a gap, but a few had teammates sitting in, and I didnâ€™t want to be caught a fool chasing down rabbits. They were in eyesight, but their gap kept getting bigger, and after 15 minutes I said, “Elmer, those ainâ€™t no stinking rabbits.”
I started making a move to bridge up while girls from the front group were getting popped. I tried to convince a few to work with me and weâ€™d catch back on, but they were more interested in blowing up and getting to hot coffee quicker.
It took until 10 laps to go to catch them. At this point there was five of us and weâ€™d lapped the field once. I sat in to rest for a moment. The finish is a slight uphill for about 4 blocks (new course this year). As we came out of turn four we had more lapped riders to contend with and not everyone was neutralizing, so it became a bunch sprint in traffic. I came in at 3, a baby tire width behind two, so of course Iâ€™ve spent the afternoon wishing Iâ€™d found that extra oopf, but I met my goal, so Iâ€™m going to focus on that.
I decided to give up my spot and forgo the upgrade thanks to some early morning consultations with Molly and Heather (#teamwork). Iâ€™d rather spend a few more months working on learning tactics before racing with the 1/2s and getting blown to smithereens. So we got VIP tickets for the pro races instead (which start in 30 minutes and are stream-able on usacrits! Thereâ€™s a nasty corner at turn 3 that should be interesting.)
Off to drink whiskey in southern storms!