What a rush!!! I'm not an early bird at all, so naturally I'm running a little late the morning of the race. Uniform.....check. Shoes and helmet......check. Bike......check. Baked goods.....check. So, I'm off to Binghamton. Ten minutes down the road, I realize I forgot my cycling license!! Debating whether to turn around or not as I'm already late, I decide to go back and get it. Speeding down the highway my heart rate probably is in the 130's already and I'm worrying about getting there in time. It's the longest hour and half of my life. Finally, we make it with about 30-40 minutes to spare. Barely enough time to get ready and get somewhat of a warm-up in!
The race starts and Tami, now a racer for Corning, takes off in a crazy sprint and I'm struggling to get into my pedal before everyone takes off down the hill. I manage to get in and pedal like mad to catch back onto the lead group. The group comes to the hill and everyone seems to be playing a bit, seeing what everyone else has got as far as climbing ability since the race will likely be won on the hill. Riders are shuffling around as we do a few laps. Coming across the finish area a bell rings on the third lap or so. I'm thinking, "what was that? It's not the last lap already!" I forget about it until we approach the hill again and it dawns on me - it's for a prime! I figure what the heck, I'll go for it! Sprinting to the finish line, Delana challenges me and I barely get it. It was so close I had to find out afterward who actually won it. We come together and I take a glance back and notice we have a decent gap on the rest of the field. We work together for the next lap and try to increase our lead. Back at the hill again, I charge up as best I can and realize I'm alone and Delana is back with the rest of the group.
I get a bit of a sick feeling in my stomach. All week, I was thinking about attempting an attack with maybe 2 or 4 laps to go depending on how the race was going and if I felt good, but now I'm alone with 8 laps or so to go! Still not having a ton of racing experience or confidence, especially at the front, I debate what to do. I decide to just go as hard as I can and attempt to hold everyone else off for as long as I can. I'll wait and see if I have anything left when they catch me and maybe I can draft a bit again and rest until the final lap, but at least either way I'll get in a great day of training. Round and round I go and with two laps to go, I think, "wow, maybe I can actually pull this off?!?!" My thighs are burning and every time I climb that hill it gets harder and harder and I'm using easier gears. Finally, last lap and I win! My first road race win! Soon after I turn around to see the rest of the field coming and sprinting up the hill. Next, comes Tami and then Delana! Woo hoo.... two MIM racers on the podium! I'm totally elated and what a rush!
Later, talking to Delana, I find out that some of the riders didn't even know I was out front until a couple laps to go! Good thing or the field would have been able to organize and catch me! A BIG thank you to Delana, for not working in the paceline they did try to form!
Overall, it was a great experience and I couldn't have asked for a better day with so many MIM riders there racing and helping out for the day. Great job everyone! What a great team we have and it was so nice to have everybody there to help Delana and I celebrate afterward! Special thanks to Marsha and the rest of her crew for organizing such a fun event!