So when I was deciding what field to sign up for for the Giro de S.F., Dino mentioned that racing with the pros might be more "festive". It was, but that might not be the word that I would use.
The Giro is one of my favorites! Great atmosphere. A bumpy, but fun course. I saw the April Bella got 3rd in the 4's! Yay! I saw Andrea Bella and gave her a quick hug-- she got 7th in the 3s field. I saw old pal Flavia O.-- she had already won the Cal Cup points. She works really hard all year long. She always makes me feel welcome and justs expects me to race with her field. I hung out with Dave in the Vanderkitten tent and got cute socks, tattoos and stickers. Another old pal Mary M. offered to share her energy drink and watch my bike. I love that girl-- she always smiles her crooked grin when she's off the front (or sticking her tounge out). So freakin' strong.
I lasted about ten laps with them but kept going. When they came back around I jumped back in for a while. I put aside my fears of looking like a bloomin idiot and started looking at the number sequences. There were only about 6 of us 3s left. If I finished I could place well (and I needed the workout). One of my early role models for sticking it out is Ellis. It's always better to finish. I started to have fun when the crowd started yelling for me. Michael, who was MC, made some nice and funny comments every time I went by. A huge group of guys at the top of the hill made me smile every time- screaming all sorts of stuff including "Look at the booty!" I ended up 4th for the 3s. The race had some awesome solo breakaways and chases. Unfortunately, I could only see some of it from my perspective. Sarah Bella finished 22nd in our field (training for cyclocross). I was sorry to see Shelley Olds crash on the last lap.
I am proud of myself for even trying to race with people of that caliber. LOOK AT THE NAMES! I wanted some autographs at the starting line. Christine Thorburn!!! Now I can say that I raced with National and World Champions. Geesh.
This year I learned how smooth and safe the pros can be. I also learned how tactically smart they are (it was mean how they drove up the hill every lap). I realized that I was mentally handicapping myself by relegating myself to the back. "Just try to hang on." Anyone worth their bike-racing salt knows that that spells doom and it takes a lot more energy to hang out in the back. You are always in danger of being popped off. Thing is with them though, it's not like Women's 4 races where I could boss people around, pushing people off wheels and taking the front whenever I wanted, the crit boss. If I did that they would hang me out to dry so fast. It's hard to move up. You have to be really good at cornering and keeping wheels to stay in the game.
I had fun!