Littleton Criterium

I was at the line and there were about 15 SW4s and me. As we’re waiting to start, Meg Hottman who is in the announcer’s booth asks the ref if they want to combine the prems, since there was only me in the SW55+. A quick, ‘yeah’ – and then (after they already decided) the ref asked me if I was OK with that. I said sure… and a little voice inside my head said…but I’m gonna make sure that the SW55+ doesn’t get left out !!
Then, off we went. The pace was OK, but not really all that fast. It was a bunch of 90 degree turns, super road surface – onto varying width roads and at the north end, you actually turn onto the far side of a blvd (divided lanes). It was right up my alley — and the course was dead flat — hardly a ripple of either uphill or down. I felt good and I felt like I was not losing in the corners (as some of the other gals were slowing down). I just stayed to the outside and rode ’em fast. That kept me up in the front group for the whole first lap. Then it seemed like folks were settling in a bit, and I felt the pace could be snappier, so I went to the front and upped the pace a bit. I loved being on the front. I didn’t have to worry about anyone braking in front of me, or cutting me off, or bumping me. I had the whole world in front of me! I just kept hammering along. I know I was on the front at least 4 laps when they rang for the first prem. Until they rang the bell, I was all set to sit up a bit and let someone else take over, but when I heard that bell there was no doubt in my mind who would be crossing the start/finnish line first! I kept my position, and I held the pace high. I think Michelle Maxwell thought about challenging me for it, but as we entered the home stretch I heard, “It’s all yours…” behind me.
At the end of the next lap, I managed to get off the front and dropped back a few riders. I was still very much at the front though. One of the younger riders yelled at me one time (I think I might’ve moved in on a wheel she had her sights on) — “Hey 180 (my #), You’re in the 55 race!”. That confused me for just a second…. anyway, I stayed where I was and rode ‘protected’ for a few laps. Then another bell sounded… I was maybe 5-6 riders back. I moved up during the first half of that lap and then poured it on during the second half. I took the prem easily that time and stayed on the front for another half lap or so. Then it was back into the front of the pack where I rode strong and watched carefully so I wouldn’t get boxed in. During this race, I was on the ‘outside’ most of the time — even though I had to travel farther, I was able to stay at speed and in the end it worked out really well. By now, Meg Hottman was referring to me as the “Prem Queen” and I think she was impressed by my tenacity. When I heard the last prem bell, I was only a few riders deep and I took off right out of the first corner. As I left the group I said, “If someone wants this, they’re gonna have to work for it”. Apparently no one wanted it. I didn’t care, I was really enjoying riding hard and I knew that I was going to back it down soon because I told myself that when it came to ‘Five to Go!”, I didn’t want to be a factor in the SW4 finish, so that’s when I’d drift to the back of the pack so no one could accuse me of that. Anyway, on the last prem lap, I rode hard. I took a glance back after I crossed the line and I bet I was 40-50’ ahead of the pack. It happened that the last prem ended on the same lap as the “Five to Go!” started. So, I moved to the outside of the group and took my foot off the gas. I stayed in contact with the back of the pack, but for me, the race was pretty much over. Now I needed to get to the finish so I could claim victory and put the 30 points towards my BRAC’s Rocky Mountain Road Cup rider points. I managed that without incident. There was a 3-rider crash on the first or second lap. Just scraps and bruises. Glad I was at the front when it happened!
When it was all said and done, I walked away with a brand new Cannondale Teramo helmet (for winning the SW55+),  a nice 4-piece chocolate sampler from Andi’s, a handmade, one-of-a-kind cycling cap, a couple pair of bike socks and a $20 gift card to Delizios in Littleton! What a haul!!! My winnings more than covered my entry fee today…. and …. I had a BLAST.