I arrived at the park a bit flustered. True to form, I had gotten lost on the South Side and had to call my girlfriend for directions. "Can you google the damn park?" I asked.
I finally found the place and was greeted by Ariel and her sister. It was freezing, and I was grossly underdressed. I thank Ariel for the leggings, Erica for pair of gloves #1, and Julie for gloves #2 and the hat. (What was I thinking - I barely brought anything!)
The race was....interesting. There were seven of us ladies braving the windstorm. From HAC it was Kate, Katie and I. We started slow, and I kept up with the pack for about a quarter mile. The bantering inside the pack was fun! But then came my nemesis, corner #1. I slowed down because I haven't quite mastered those awesome & fearless non-braking powers displayed by Katie and Kate. So I took corner #1 fairly slow and the pack shot ahead. I tried to sum up all my superhuman strength to catch up, but it wasn't happening.
I watched the pack recede in the distance, so close yet so far. I was then pretty much on my own for the entire race. I watched my speedometer in dismay as my pace crept down into the single digits while the wind whipped me like its personal toy. I thank the cheering section who raised my spirits briefly as I passed 'em. Cause I desperately needed that boost! Fingers and toes were getting numb.
The pack lapped me, and I was grateful to see everyone's shining (or windblown) face again. I caught up again, delighting in the delicious reprieve of drafting. But, uh....it was time to corner, I was slow, and it was goodbye pack. This time for good.
When I was told there was "one lap to go" I was relieved. Being a battering ram for icy wind is quite a tough endeavor.
I finished, DFL. But didn't matter, my spirits were high. I learned a lot in this adventure. Kate and Katie explained how to non-brake on corners. And I hope at some point to be able to keep up to the pack so that I can at least help my teammates for some stretches.
Katie and Kate did awesome and finished strong! Yey. Go HAC! And thanks to everyone for putting on these crits.