Last weekend I did my first road race of the season called the Tour de Tamarack. This is a very special race to me because seven years ago, in the town of Meadville, Pennsylvania, a little girl became a cyclist. I used to do a lot of kids' triathlons and duathlons when I was younger. Then, one day, I asked my parents, "Can I do a race that's just biking?" So, my parents tried to find a race that wasn't "kid distance" since I wanted a greater challenge. My participation in an adult length race was denied time after time until we talked to the director of the Tour de Tamarack. He was completely open to allowing me race the entire twenty mile loop if my parents rode with me. A fourteen and under category was even created after my participation and the number of junior racers increased each year I returned. This was the last year I planned on racing the twenty mile before moving up to the thirty mile race. My goals were to break an hour, win the 2 sprint primes and the hill prime, and win the women's' overall. Luckily, my friend from Pittsburgh (Nate Clair) was there to help me stay in the lead pack which was a bonus. The air horn blew and everyone faced the big start hill. I have always had confidence in my climbing ability, but I was shocked to find myself getting dropped right from the very beginning! Even my granny gear felt like I was trying to ride through an ocean of peanut butter. As I crested the top of the hill, it was demoralizing to see the lo-o-ong line of men already going down the fast stretch of road. But that mentality only lasted for a few seconds and I shifted up, powered past everyone, and (miraculously) got into the lead pack. The first lap went smoothly, but I still noticed myself struggling a lot on each little climb. I fell back on the big hill at the beginning of the second lap, but managed to make up time again on the flat section immediately after. I really noticed my fatigue in the last five miles, so I focused on staying in the draft as much as possible so I didn't expend any unnecessary energy. Before I knew it, I was going forty-seven miles an hour down the last hill. Because of my size, the men coasted away from me, but I reeled them back in on the upside. I passed four guys right on the corner before the finish. Three primes and fifty eight minutes later, I was the first woman and sixth overall! What a great day racing with friends and accomplishing what I had set out to do.
Tamarack Throwback :