I decided pretty much last minute, that Athen’s twilight would be a cool race to do, something to check off my bucket list. None of my teammates were going to be there, but I knew several juniors and masters racers I could hang out with.

So, I drove up after work on Friday and after a short night’s sleep I went for a short bike ride and watched a little bit of the amateur racing in the morning. My race wasn’t until the evening, and I spent the rest of the day just waiting. Most of my races are first thing in the morning, so the waiting part was something new for me. But, eventually it was time to pin the number and start racing. Athens twilight is known to be a crashfest, and the first – and only – crash I saw happened during the dash to the line. As soon as the whistle blew, it was on full-gas. Once in a while I could move up a few spots, but I never saw much of the front of the race and my sole thought on my mind was “one more lap”. Ouch. With 14 laps to go, I could relax a little bit for the first time. With 13 laps to go, the pack slowed down a bit and I had enough energy to move up to mid-pack. With 12 laps to go, the bell rang for a cash prime and half a lap later I suddenly was at the front. I led the pack through corners 3 and 4, accelerated out and was surprised no one sprinted past me for the prime. My presence at the front was very short lived and soon I was back at the tail-end of it. The pace increased, so did my suffering and with three laps to go the elastic snapped and I was off. I finished the race and then rolled half a lap to where my coach and other Floridians where and we watched the men’s right on the backstretch until I got hungry and had to find a shower and some food.

Suffering at the back of the pack 

Literally the one time I wasn’t hanging on for dear life

 

Next day was the criterium in historic Rosswell with a punchy climb, and another short night’s sleep. I got someone’s rear derailleur into my front wheel right at the start and lost all my positioning right there. However, either the pace was slower, or everyone was tired, or the course suited me better, but I mostly chilled out towards the back of the pack, and enjoyed the racing. I tried to get towards the front with about 10 laps to go but couldn’t hold my position and finished mid-pack.
All in all, a great experience. considering my less than ideal lead up into the race, I’m happy I (mostly) finished both races, got to experience the crazy crowds in Athens and the level of competition.

Mid-pack in Roswell