By Anna Milton – 5/4/12
My mom and I rolled into registration just on time (maybe even early!) to the Wayne Elliot Memorial Circuit Race last Sunday, April 29th, and yet the pre-race jitters that I usually get weren’t there. I was excited more than anything because it was really my first race of the year, other than a Well’s Ave training crit at the beginning of April. Plus I had some great competitors, including Kristina Donehew, Joy Stark and Cait Dooley. The first two of the four 6 mile laps were completely uneventful, and everyone seemed a bit timid to launch any real attacks. Not to mention the race organization was a bit sketchy, seeing as the court marshals didn’t even bother to tell us the whole pack was going the wrong way until we had already turned left when we were apparently supposed to turn right, and also seeing as we all missed the first turn of the race because there were no signs. At the end of the second lap, one NEBC rider broke off the front, and it didn’t seem that the pack registered this breakaway until too late, no one drove the pace to chase her down until she had been gone for a good minute or two. From mid-pack I didn’t even see that she had launched an attack, otherwise I would have at least attempted to latch onto her wheel, but I guess that means I should be at the front watching more carefully. Suddenly, a burst of energy caused the strongest of the pack to eagerly dictate the pace, and Joy Stark seized the front while a few others, including myself, struggled to sit in behind her. The third lap came around, and I will never forget the scene of my screaming mother yelling totally “normal” and not embarrassing in any way words of encouragement like “you got it baby, gooo Anna!! That’s my girl! Woohoo!!” and me responding “Whose crazy mom is that? Definitely NOT mine…”. I guess I’ll have to learn to live with it…jk. love you mom <3
The third lap constituted of a peloton pace-line to chase down the NEBC girl, we had pretty much all stayed together except a few who had dropped off at the beginning. I got a couple of chances to lead, but my legs were tiring quickly at the front, and soon the front of the pack swallowed me up as Joy rode away from the group. I tucked in behind a good wheel and settled for the rest of the third lap, just making sure I didn’t end up at the back. About three quarters through the fourth lap, we were neutralized as the mens field passed us from behind, and we completely lost sight of Joy, the NEBC girl, and another who had bridged up to the attackers. On the final descent to the finish, forcing myself to think two steps ahead, I settled in a good position to protect myself on the downhill, knowing that if I wasn’t right in the middle of the group in a stable tuck, gravity would have taken over and I would have probably ended up off the back for the sprint, which isn’t my forte to begin with. As the descent leveled and we began to climb slightly just out of sight of the finish, I bridged up to the very front, securing a solid place for the sprint. It wasn’t the best line I couldn’t have chosen, but it wasn’t too bad, and by the time this was going through my mind, it was too late to change lines. My sprint finish needs some work, but it didn’t end up going too badly, and I landed myself 8th, about five women beat me to the finish in the peloton. All in all, I had fun, raced with awesome people, and recollected that it was definitely a good first race; it made me realize what I really need to work on, and got me excited for the long season to come!