- Recent Posts
- 2013 Cycling Team
- @nprmonkeysee @mindtron @AnnaHolmes @JamieShupak That's cool, I'm going to go ahead and cry now.
- Me: "I have a hangnail." Mom: "I have nail scissors in my purse." Me: "Nah, this will give me something to do for an hour." #9hourroadtrip
- @mindtron Something like that... =)
- RT @laurakatbrown: Beautiful day! Beautiful city! Thanks @GPCycliste for organizing a great UCI women's race in Canada @TeamColavita1 http:…
- Just heard that Scoots (@zider24) brought home a podium finish for @TeamColavita1 with 3rd at the #NCC #WilmingtonGP. Sweeeeet!!
- RT @colavitasouth: Great Job @TeamColavita1 2 riders in top 10 at GP Cycliste Gatineau @laurakatbrown 5th, @thedirtfield 9th. http://t.co/T…
- Good day for @TeamColavita1 at #Gatineau with two top 10s and strong riding from all. @laurakatbrown was 5th, I was 9th. #bobsledtime
- Worth A Visit
Posted on May 17, 2013
The Race: Tour de Grove
The Course: 60-minutes on a 1.2-mile, triangle-shaped course
The Field: 1/2 women
The Finish: Gasping and limping post-leadout
Team Colavita is focusing on NCC events this season and decided a few weeks ago to send a small squad to the Tour de Grove to earn points for the overall NCC competition. It’s been a long season of travel already and this weekend was to be my first one at home in six weeks, but when asked if I’d be interested in representing the team in St. Louis, I didn’t hesitate. I was joined by Jen, our sprinter, and Whitney, recent team addition after her strong showing at Speed Week.
The course was a triangle with two very long/wide sides and a corner leading into the start/finish stretch that was more like a U-turn. While the map of the course looked aggressive with sharp corners, the reality was much more approachable. The last corner was set up in such a way that I could actually accelerate through the second part of the U and gain momentum. The biggest challenges were the pavement imperfections (cracks, deep manhole covers, unexpected bumps) and a strong wind that felt like it was coming from multiple directions.
My instructions for the day were to work on being conservative, so I spent the race hiding from the wind in the field while working to stay strategically placed near (but not on) the front. When an attack would go, I’d wait until other riders went after it to slide onto their wheels and catch a ride. The wind was a big factor – anytime a rider went out of the protection of the field, they were faced with a wall of wind. It made attacks difficult to launch and easy to shut down. Anybody that tried to escape was quickly joined by other racers and then chased down by the rest of the field. As soon as moves were caught, the field would sit up and roll until the next attack/chase.
At around three laps to go, Primal and Tibco riders gathered on the front while Whitney, Jen, and I grouped behind them. The pace started to ratchet up slightly but less than I’d expected for the end of the race until we rounded the final corner to cross the line with one to go. At that point, people started moving and Whitney fired up the beginning of our leadout. We both knew it was a long way to the end, but it was either go then or risk losing the opportunity.
She went hard but was gassed after the long windy stretch, so I took the lead before the first corner and went as hard as I could. It was enough to keep the pace high until halfway through the second leg of the triangle. When I started to fade, I pulled off and the field shot by with Jen on the front. It was too soon for her to be in the wind, but there was nothing else we could do (except try to start the leadout later next time). She ended up 15th in the field sprint while Whitney and I rolled across the line way after the field.
Our flights were all scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but we got up early to do a long spin around St. Louis in the morning. We covered a lot of the city, saw the Gateway Arch, and had enough time to pick up lunch before our shuttle to the airport. It was a nice way to make the most of a weekend of travel. Next up, I’m roadtripping to Canada this week for the Gatineau UCI road race.
Posted on May 13, 2013
The Race: Speed Week NCC Sandy Springs Cycling Classic Criterium
The Course: 40 laps with a bunch of corners and an uphill finish
The Field: 1/2 women
The Finish: 2nd place team overall
Wow. I can’t believe my third Speed Week is already over. Four flights, seven races in seven cities, five hotels, five nights at my team director’s house, many hours in the team van, a lot more rain and cool weather than expected, gallons of coffee, and more laps than I would ever want to count.
No meals at Waffle House. SUCCESS!
That being said, I did have chicken & waffles, grits, collard greens, and beef jerky. I also ate more coconut peanut butter than any person ever should, discovered that Puffins are delicious, and solidly maintained my role as the person on the team who eats the most.
As for the final race, there were good parts and bad. I was tired going into it, which is to be expected after so many days of travel and racing, and I made some tactical mistakes in the way I covered moves and spent my limited energy. Although the field was active, the peloton was unwilling to let anything get up the road for any length of time. I didn’t have the legs for any strong attacks. Jamie was able to get away for a few laps near the end in a move that looked promising, but it didn’t stick. A few others tried to break away in the final laps, but I worked with the riders at the front to keep the gaps closed. With one to go, Kelly Fisher-Goodwin had a small gap on the field, so I got on the front and cranked up the pace to keep her close and set up a lead-out for the end. I made it through the back of the course and was cooked. The field came around and blew through the final corners to the finish, while I made an effort to get across the line in a semi-decent place.
And that was it. Speed Week done. Team Colavita finished 2nd overall in the team competition, Jen was our highest-place overall finisher in 7th, and I wrapped up the week as 2nd in the lap leader competition. We would have liked to have seen more podiums, but we did get in a win and learned so much about how to work together as a team. From a personal standpoint, I figured out how to be a smarter and more patient racer, how to bury myself for my teammates, and how rewarding it can be to see collective hard work pay off. It was a great week of racing.
It feels like something is ending now as the whirlwind of the last eleven days comes to a close, but in reality this is nothing like an ending. I’m going to St. Louis this weekend to race Tour de Grove, then immediately on to Gatineau and Nationals. If it weren’t for a need to do laundry and swap out the half-empty jars of peanut butter for full ones, I’m not sure I’d even bother to unpack.
Posted on May 7, 2013
The Race: Speed Week NCC Belmont Criterium
The Course: 25 miles, one long climb through the start/finish and descending the rest of the time
The Field: 1/2 women
The Finish: Strong! 5th, 6th, 9th
Belmont was a new addition to Speed Week and offered a great course with a long climb set in a cute town. Team Colavita’s goal was to work together better as a team throughout the race and play off each other strategically. The race started in the middle of the climb and after the initial surge, I settled in near the front of the field. After a handful of laps, Starla Teddergreen attacked following a prime and Jen and Jamie jumped on it. It was a perfect response and a promising break. When Teresa Cliff-Ryan jumped to join it, I knew it would hold until the end. A lap or two later, another rider (Whitney Schultz) attacked to bridge and I got on her wheel for the ride. Sara Clafferty joined us and I sat on them while they tried to bridge to the front group. They started to slow down after a while so I attacked and established a small gap, but after working hard alone for a number of laps and not making any progress in catching the leaders, I sat up and rejoined the two of them. The three of us circled the course and I did some courtesy pulls until I heard that our riders from the front group had been separated and were in their own group, at which point I started taking more regular rotations.
As the race neared the end, I heard from the announcer that the front group had lapped the field and was back in the main bunch. Beth Newell had been dangling between our break and the field, and finally caught on to make us a group of four. Since I knew we weren’t going to end up lapping the field, I stopped working and sat on the back of our group while the three of them took pulls. I sprinted to pick up the remaining points for the 5-to-go points prime and then settled back in to wait until the end. At one to go, Whitney led up the climb with me on her wheel and then pulled off. I panicked a little: was it better to get on the front at a dangerously late time or let the pace drop while we played cat-and-mouse and risk the field swallowing us up? I got on the front and planned to make a move going into the final turns, but just as we approached the second to last corner, Whitney blew past me with Sara on her wheel. Now sitting third wheel, I braced to jump hard for the sprint after the last turn. It still could have worked out, but just before the last corner, a guy crossed the course with his bike. Whitney and Sara yelled at him but made it through without interference and I should have been able to do the same, but instead I lost my focus for a moment and blew the corner. Shaved off too much speed and then took a more sweeping line up to the finish, ending up 3rd out of our break for 9th overall. I was furious at myself – how could I ride a smart race and then blow it at the end with a series of stupid mistakes??? Of course I burst into tears, because DUH. [In my defense, I was tired. A beer later, I was back to being all smiles.]
Back in the rest of the race, Jamie and Jen had worked their butts off to follow the lead group in lapping the field and were in it for the final sprint. That resulted in us picking up 5th and 6th overall. It was an excellent race – active, exciting, and a great show of teamwork – and while I was disappointed by my own failure at the end, it was awesome to see how things came together for the team. Now to carry that momentum through to the last race of the week at Sandy Springs…
Posted on May 5, 2013
The Race: Speed Week NCC Spartanburg Regional Classic Criterium
The Course: 50 laps of a 4-corner course
The Field: 1/2 women
The Finish: Top 10
Speed Week continues to be unseasonably chilly and damp, and the evening of the Spartanburg Crit was no exception. A grey, cool day turned windy and wet during our warm up and when we staged on the course, everything was unnervingly slick. I started on the front row thanks to my lap leader call-up and jumped on the whistle to settle comfortably into third wheel. The fifty laps were largely uneventful – attacks were short-lived and I focused on riding efficiently and not wastefully burning matches. Our director taught us a few tricks before the race to help with this and I was excited to see that they worked. While I’m not going to share trade secrets, I will say that part of it is learning to ride more with no regard for ego. It’s difficult – of course I want to ride strong and show what I can do – but when I’m able to let go preconceived notions of how a “good” rider races, that’s when I’m able to do my best riding. Working for my teammates has already become second-nature; my finishes this week have all been completely irrelevant (and amusingly far back) once my job is done, and I don’t mind at all. But yesterday I realized that sometimes I’m still caught up in trying to ride a certain way during races and that style is costing me energy unnecessarily. If I can put aside those tendencies, I’ll be stronger, fresher, and more prepared to support my team.
But back to yesterday’s race. When it came time to set up our lead-out train at the end of the race, my teammates and I gathered at the front but didn’t execute the plan as well as we should have. We are still learning how a leadout should come together and how fast it should be and, while we were busy trying to sort that out, the riders from Fearless Femme jumped on the front, ratcheted up the pace hard, and caught us off guard. We finished 9th and 10th in the field sprint, a disappointing end to what had been a promising race. We won’t make the same mistakes at the Belmont Crit.
Posted on May 4, 2013