Two days before Sommerville I was in Chattanooga TN for Time Trial Nationals. This was my big event of early summer, my sole focus. I never missed a workout, I missed happy hours, I thought about everything I put in my mouth for months. My performance was good but not great, and Sunday I hopped in a car and took the 12 hour drive home. Sommerville was on Monday and I opted to sign up for the race a few days prior. I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel, given I was in a car for 12 hours the day prior, munching on chips and cookies on the way home. My boyfriend and teammate were both doing the race, so figured it was best to race it instead of being a spectator.
I showed up to the race with zero expectations. Tour of Sommerville is a fun race, they shut down the town, and there are tons of spectators. Every person I know that rides bike in the area at least comes to watch the race. I remember during warm-up I rolled over gum and my rear wheel was a bit out true, so I spent half of my warm up getting the gum off, and adjusting my break so it wasn’t rubbing against the rim.
I rode up to the start line taking note of some of the pro teams that were there, and also the local talent. I opted to be active during the race, trying to get a break started, but never was successful. There were some very talented sprinters in the peloton, and I knew they probably had no interest in starting a break. Oh well, at least I know I tried to do something during the race instead of sitting in the whole time. With 5 laps to go, a local girl attacked near the start/finish line (might have been for a preme) and I followed. No one seemed to follow us, and the local girl backed off. I kept going, and to my amazement no one followed. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, until I saw a Cat 1 racer that I train with on the sidelines shouting ‘great move, keep going’. I stopped looking behind, tucked my head down and put down the hammer. I honestly don’t know what was going through my head those 5 laps, other than people screaming my name to keep going. It was honestly the craziest thing, every time I turned a corner, people were cheering. I had no idea how far back the peleton was and tried to push away any pain and focus on every turn, every uphill. With 2 laps to go, I thought there was only one lap and had to ask a friend on the sideline. Unfortunately 2 laps to go, didn’t know if I could make it another 2 laps, but I kept pushing. One lap to go, only 4 corrners and one uphill. I came across the final turn and up the uphill, I could see the finish line but I could hear the crowd get instantaneously louder as I came by. I knew it, the peleton was just on my tail ready to catch me, but I didn’t have time to look back. I get out of the saddle to give everything I got, and 3 girls came by me at the line. Ugh, so close, so close! I finished the race in 4th place, despite losing in the final meter of the race, I still felt like I had won something that day. I put everything on the line that day and pushed myself beyond a point I ever knew was possible. This is why I race bikes.