Race Date: 2/22-2/23
Race type: Collegiate Racing
Riders: Hannah Hayduk
This past weekend, I competed in the first race of the Mid West Collegiate Cycling Conference here in Columbia KY. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather (mid 50s) after ascending from the freezing temperatures and snow the week before…welcome to the ever changing weather here in KY.
On Saturday, I was unable to compete for the team in the team time trial as I was engaged in interviewing potential full scholarship candidates of the Begley Scholars. This is one of my duties since I won the scholarship myself last spring. The interviews ended late (of course) and I ran to my room, grabbed my bag, and drove to the race while eating the lunch I had packed the night before. I changed out of my business clothes and heels, into race kit and cycling shoes. Oh, the contrast.
I warmed up, going into this race with the mentality it was a training race. Our women’s A collegiate field is one of the best in the US and are always competitive. Road races are not my strongest suit and we have one of the toughest races in the conference. As we started the race with a smaller group of 15 girls, it was not as pressing of a matter whether we were in the front, back or middle because it was easy to advance back up. I took the front before our first technical downhill, because I knew it so well, I easily created a gap which allowed me to take the first half the upcoming hill easy. The group remained together, but the Marian team, including Coryn Rivera, put the pressure on the hills.
In the middle of the first lap of about 25 miles, they really pushed it up a hill. As I began to fall off the front 1/3 of the group, I looked back to realize, nobody was there and the seven of us were the group. I caught the girls on the downhill knowing I now must stay with them or die in the wind. We worked well together in a pace line till the big hill before the finish line. Known as Little Cake, it is a killer. Steep and decently long. Here I passed one girl as she fell back but remained in limbo, alone, in 6th place for the remainder of the following lap. I could see a Lindenwood University uniform just ahead, but it took me the majority of the next lap to slowly and steadily catch my prey. I did not want to finish in 6th, I wanted 5th, and if I had made it this far as a non-hill climber, I could do more. I caught and passed the Lindenwood Univerisity girl, made it up the horrid hill and finished. I am so proud of my effort to not give up and excited that I had such a great race finishing in 5th.
The following day was the criterium. I woke up with bricks in my legs, which decided to stay. After about 30 minutes of the 45 minute race, I fell off the group. There had been several attacks and my legs were tired from the day before, though my mind was excited at the possibilities of the future races. I can’t wait to return to race again and see what other surprises my mind and body has for me, especially as courses and crits more suited to my skills become my playground. As my advisor and teacher say, “Take try out of your vocabulary and you’ll make great strides in actually doing.”