After a fatal flat in 2012 and being crashed out with 4 miles to go in 2014, I was hoping for some redemption this year at Hillsboro, especially knowing it was the last edition of this terrific road race. I did all the things I thought would take me into town with the lead pack. I punched up through cracks in the group to stay near the front. I split up some St Louis ladies, whom I thought would try a breakaway. I maintained decent cadence up the hills to stay close to jumpers.

I hooked onto the wheels of W1/2 and fast 3's trying to drop all others. An aggressive pace, I'm pushing red without the ability to refuel. Suddenly, I'm going backward. The Mack racer in front of me grabbed a handful of brake in a downward road that sharply turned up. I'm now ten spaces back, on the opposite end of the mass. Sarah Szefi goes into TT mode off the front, the pack chases and I'm yo-yo'ing for the next 5 minutes before "pop", I'm alone watching the group pull away. I ended up pace lining with four other pack orphans for awhile, but eventually fall off when they upped the pace. Dead man walking.

Pushed myself into and around the town square as quickly as possible. Sophia Robinson (Ten Speed Hero) magically appears out of nowhere on the last quarter mile. Sprints for the line, I battle back, but legs slump and she crushes 18th place. Like shooting a dead carcass. Guess she was pissed at her mechanical. I could blame the race for being out of my league when it went "open" and three W1/2's signed up, but other 3/4's came in with the peleton. Just wasn't my day.

Hillsboro still has my heart.

Jen Groen