Monday, March 10, 2008

Tip Top Sprint

By Jamie France
Clemson, South Carolina

Sunday, 9 March, was our old faithful course of 35 miles at Donaldson Center. The field of women was smaller than usual -- only 30 of us, all Categories raced together. The cold was excruciating. I heard on the weather that it was 28 degrees with wind chill. It felt every bit of the 28 degrees. Everyone dressed for the cold, but still -- we were miserable for the first two laps. It took us 14 miles to warm-up to where I could feel my fingertips. My brain was frozen for those two laps as well. Luckily, everyone was in the same boat -- cold muscles, cold face, runny noses.

I really started to feel good in lap 3. I was feeling like I really wanted to stretch my legs, but I stayed imbedded in the pack. I followed a few attacks, but the pack always got us reeled back in. The bigger teams were really controlling things, and I had no teammates. (I had started the race with a brand-new-Bella, Kim Turpin, who I knew was super-strong, but she broke a cable in lap 1 so she was out.)

Before I knew it, we were approaching the 200m-to-the-finish mark, and the sprint began. I finally got a chance to open up and go for it. It was crowded and I had to hold back until I found a gap, powered through, and passed a bunch of gals with only 10m to go. It felt great!

I ended up 11th out of all 30 women, my best finish ever -- but wait! Here's the best part: I was 1st among Cat 4 women, my prevoius best being 5th. And since they scored the Cat 4 women separately from the 1/2/3's, I've got that warm & fuzzy feeling of a job well done when I see the results posted with "1. Jamie France - VeloBella - Clemson, SC" at the very tippity top of the list!

Oh La La!


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