Report by Anna Milton, Junior Team Member and Fan Supporter at KSR
Playing my role as fan support for the team, I was given the opportunity to hitch a ride up to the Killington stage road race and observe the race routines of the team. As a spectator of all of the women, I obtained certain race strategies of the racers as well as daily routines. Overall, every one of the women had a fantastic and admirable weekend of racing, proving that each of their individual strategies and routines complete the job and thus, are good model routines to follow for other, younger disciples.
Waking up at approximately 6:30 AM each morning, the racers would settle down for a hardy breakfast of carbs and proceed to relax and digest their food for the next 20 minutes. Subsequently, they slowly slip into their kits and get all suited up for the race. The women then make last minute adjustments to their bikes, perhaps changing their cassettes to allow for an easier set of gears up the numerous climbs in the morning’s race. Finally, nearly ready to take off to the start, the women throw us their feed zone water bottles and are out the door with following cheers of good luck from us (one of our, the race supporters, jobs is to supply the racers with spare bottles at the feed zone).
When the racers arrive at the start, they proceed with a 45 minute warm up to supply their legs with sufficient amounts of blood and oxygen prior the race.
As the first stage, the circuit race was the easiest, requiring the least amount of effort, and we were rewarded with admirable places in both the Women’s Pro 1-2 and Women’s 3-4. The Time Trial surely would be much more arduous; just after the circuit, there was no rest, everyone was already preoccupied with worrisome thoughts about the upcoming TT.
The following morning: same routine as the previous. One quick observation, when there are two bathrooms shared amongst unnerved five racers and six jittery race supporters on the morning of a race, lets just say the bathrooms didn’t always smell like roses. But they needed that stuff out of their system before the TT!
All of the women placed well in the Time Trial and felt the pain of the gain afterwards. Their assignment for the afternoon was to be official “couch potatoes”. Race supporters, however, were given free reign over what to do with the afternoon, and so, Mom, John D and I tooled out for a sure-to-be arduous ride up bear mountain, whose summit was the finish of the next day’s road race. In total, the climb took us 22 minutes, no saddles. At the summit, you nearly fall off the bike with jello-like legs and an upturned stomach. This is what the racers were sentenced to after racing some 60 miles already! They were all going to sleep well the next night.
I have practically memorized morning routine by now, which is exactly what I wished to accomplish; I wanted to comprehend and obtain the tactics of racing prior and post race.
Missing the start of the road race, Mom and I head to the feed zone, waiting for Larry and the others after the starts of both women’s categories. When everyone else arrives, we set up camp in the midst of the zone and proceed to hand off the bottles to the racers in both fields. After a bit of chaos, we flee the feed zone with little time to spare getting to the finish.
With perhaps a bit of speeding, for instance, driving 45 in a 30 mph zone (Mom!) and maybe a few not so nice words spilled out of fear of missing the finish, we fortunately get to the mountain’s summit in the nick of time. Sprinting to the line, all I see is this very distinct black and yellow thing bobbling up and down at the crest of the mountain, immediately recognized as… Anna! Of course, her fan club screeches bloody murder in excitement, and we watch as she makes the final push towards the finish line taking a brilliant 3rd place! One after another, resembling fantastic teammates, Becca and Ann finish soon after with crazy cheers from us as well as painfully exhausted legs. Fatigued, the racers plop down beside the finish and we follow, waiting to see our W 3-4 racers appear to applaud them at the finish.
Straining our eyes, we see Christina pumping her legs up and down like an over used piston, slowly but surely she rolls over the finish. Just after, Allison, beat like all the rest, still manages a strong finish. And you know, the most admirable thing, was that, even though every one of our women were dead beat, they still congratulated and offered sincere words of support to their other teammates. In conclusion, one of the most important pieces of info I acquired throughout the weekend was that, no matter how fast, slow, smart or dumb a racer you are, people will always support you, that’s what a team is for. I have to say, I was welcomed into the best team I can imagine, one where the members always support each other; there is never any rivalry, drama or bratty girls, so, thank you, team, coach, and race supporters, for allowing none of that crap!