Date: Thursday, May 26th and Friday, May 27th
Race: Masters Nationals, Crit and Time Trial
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Rider(s): Sarah Iepson
It finally came and went... Masters Nationals.
This was my major A race for the year and I felt really good heading in to my two events. The crit on Thursday was a late afternoon race on a course that was changed just days earlier. I'll admit it, the original course had me thinking... blah... but, the new course was AWESOME!! Very technical with a lot of turns and a short sprint to the line. It was definitely going to be hard to get away, especially considering a field of one-off riders all trying to get the jersey!
We had a neutral lap and then we started. I took the first lap at the front because I wanted a clear view of the course at speed. At the start of lap 2 there was a crash that took down two riders in the chicane. The rest of the race was fast but crash free. There were a lot of attacks -including a few from yours truly (naturally) - but, the field wasn't willing to let anyone get much daylight. It was going to come down to a sprint! We did manage to thin the field, taking 23 riders (combined 35-39 and 40-44 age groups), down to about 13 at the finish. But, that still meant I'd have to work hard to get on the podium. The last two laps were screaming fast, which gratefully strung everything out and made it very safe. I positioned myself well and managed to pass a few riders in the sprint to take 5th and bring home a podium and a medal!
The time trial was VERY hard. 22 climbs in 20 miles of racing. Most were between 1-3% draggers, but there were at least a half dozen climbs that bumped up to 5-6%. It was blisteringly hot and the course had very little shade. In short, it was a tough course in tough conditions! I enjoyed it and pushed myself to the limit and definitely felt like I left everything I had left out on that course. I even managed to average 23.6mph for the duration of the race and finish 7th overall. I was a bit bummed to miss the podium, but the women in my age group were super strong and really fast on course, so I'm really just very happy with my own performance on the day!
Result: 5th - 35-39 criterium
7th - 35-39 time trial