HP LaserJet Women's Challenge -- Stage 8
|Hard at the Front
"Today was nicer than usual in that the wind had died down considerably from the previous days. I was still feeling puny from some stomach virus I've had since two nights ago and also those darn monthly woman cramps! Yesterday was horrid for me, but somehow by the grace of God I stayed in the winning break up until about 10K to go, and I finished about a minute back in 12th.
Today I didn't do any attacking much to my despair because I LOVE attacking, but instead my teammates and I hopped on attacks by the ever active Timex, 800.com, and P&G teams. " -- Andrea Ratkovich, Autotrader.com
The break gained up to four minutes at which point the Lithuanians took to the front and shattered the field again. At the finish, the break had more than three minutes on eight chasers. Katrina was in the next group seven minutes down. Leigh, Catherine and I were 15 minutes back from the leaders.
Afterwards the whole team had eighth-day aggravated syndrome. Leigh put it well when she said the wind was pissing her off, the sun made her grumpy. Truthfully, the wind is enough to bug even the nicest of people and at this point we're not nice anyway.
Today, I remembered how lucky I am to have started out in the NY Cycle Club SIG, learning how to pace line and handle my bike right from the start. Today, in our group we were echeloning, or should I say, trying to echelon. I am well aware that riding in a pace line in a strong crosswind is, in many ways, counterintuitive. We spend so much time trying to ride close to the wheel directly in front of us. In a cross wind to get any protection it is necessary to ride next to the other rider. This can mean right next to the other rider if the wind is blowing across the road. This makes rotating difficult. The "front" rider drops back from the windy side, and starts sliding across to the other side of the road, protected by the riders in front of her and by the riders dropping into the relief line to the windy side her. If you took a photo of this, there would be two lines of riders riding curb to curb and moving forward. What makes this all the more difficult in strong wind is the strong wind. The difference in effort between a protected spot and the leading spot is great, making it difficult to maintain a constant group speed.
Enough bossy crabbing for now
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