There's silver in them hills

(thanks to Luke for the photo)

by Jannette "I work alone" Rho

Not much to tell. I decide to do the Open race instead of the 3/4. With a 5 hour drive down with my visiting parents in tow, I figure I may as well go longer and challenge myself. Turnout was smallish (though near triple from last year's 4 riders) with about half IL and half MO. I wasn't familiar with most of the non-IL riders and of course this makes me even more nervous than I already am. This is a really fun course - it goes through farm fields, up into a wooded area and back around. Lots of twists and turns with a number of kickers. The finish is a 500 m straightaway. We would go 2 laps for a total of 45 miles - lap 1 is filled with a number of attacks by Jessi and a girl Axie I've raced a number of times.

I throw in a couple of counter attacks as well but nothing is going to stick with a group this size. We come through the start/finish after the first lap and sprint for the prime - for the first time I actually took note of the final turn, the distance, etc. Huh...that shit is helpful for when it counts. Lap 2 - we realize no one is getting away so we work together to keep the pace up and a couple of girls get dropped. Hills, twists, turns, wind, repeat. There's a sizable hill right before the final turn and I'm thinking attack or play it safe and just mark an attack. I opt for the latter (good idea? dunno) but no one goes so we approach the corner and I get myself into third or so wheel. A couple of girls go early and I hop on a wheel as does Jessi. I see her jump (POW!) and I should have jumped on her wheel or reacted more quickly but alas, I'm sprinting for second. Oh, and Jessi has one bitchin sprint. Anyway, I'm neck and neck with Smart Cycling Meghan and I instruct myself to not let up, ow, do not let up - then my wheel passes hers and crosses the line in second (this is all a magical blur).

The folks finally got to see what this bike racing is all about, mom got a sunburn, 5 hour drive back, Korean BBQ for dinner, good times.