It was a very cold morning but I was prepared for the whole day. I planned to ride 27 miles to the race, race hard, and ride back. I packed enough food and clothes and was so excited for the day that I woke up early. The ride to the race was nice and easy. I felt tired but knew the ride would wake me up. I got to the race 45 minutes early, checked in and pinned my number (much harder to do by yourself in the freezing cold with no shelter).
The race was only 10 or so girls. I planned to race hard so I did not want to just sit in, but hoped to split up the race and attack until I could break away (ideally towards the end of the race). The course was decent for a break away. A short and steep 3 minute climb, a long steady descent and a short flat section before the climb. There were 7 laps of the 6 mile course. The race started off pretty steady at the top of the long downhill. I was unhappy with the descending speed and confidence of the girls in front so I moved up and descended off the front with a focus on aerodynamics and steady pedalling. I wasn't pedalling very hard but nobody wanted to go any faster than me. When the flat section came I pulled off and let somebody else pull. 5 or so of us rotated smoothly until the climb. On the climb I put in a decently hard effort hoping to split the group, knowing that I would immediately have a long descent to recover afterwards. My effort led to me having a decent gap at the top of the climb. I wasn't breathing too hard and knew I was still in great shape so I pushed steadily and tucked into the downhill. I must have recovered much faster than the girls chasing me because I was able to keep increasing my lead. I ended up riding solo at a hard tempo pace for the next 1.5 hours, saving just a bit for the climb to add a little interval into each lap. My gap was increasing each lap. My lead car even told me I don't have to keep pushing so hard and I had a big enough lead, but I responded to them saying "I want to keep pushing hard anyways!" I was surprised that my efforts led to me lapping half of the field before the end of the race.
After the race I was quickly losing body temperature so tried to leave as soon as possible after chit-chatting a little bit. I ate the rest of the food I brought rode the last 27 miles back home. It was a great adventure of a day. - Emily