Submitted by Cydney Cox
Sterling was my first road race, ever. The field was about 40 Cat 4 women. I was nervous, as expected, at the line up. A woman next to me said “It (racing) is the best and the worst thing I have ever done” , fortunately she had a huge grin as she shared this pearl.
As we start the roll out I find myself towards the back and luckily the words of many are in my head reminding me to get and stay in the top 3rd of the pack. We have three laps of the 8 mile course which starts and finishes on a short hill. Once we start and are up the hill for the first time my nerves have settled and I just focus on staying in position, which is much trickier than I imagined. Two women took off early. One rider tried to organize the next 12 of us chasing into a pace line with intermittent success. We never caught the leaders, but we stayed away from the rest of the trailing riders.
A friend had coached me prior to the race about holding my position until about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the final hill. So, I hung in there for the last straight gradual uphill portion as others around me started to push to the front, maintaining my top third position. And waited. Once we were part up the hill I went as hard as I could and luckily was off to the side of the main group, so had open road ahead. I didn’t notice until the last seconds that I was up in the front, only two ahead of me. The second woman was tiring and I barely passed her right at the line. A great first race! Best and worst thing ever? Have to wait until I do a few more…