A few years ago I raced in the Chin Picnic. I had been excited about the race, it was a Criterium, meaning it was a 1 km loop at Exhibition in Toronto and would be fast. I love Crits, they are short, generally under an hour, and full of action. Usually, they are so much fun that I forget about how hard I'm working and get caught up in the tactics of the peloton, but that's not what happened in 2008, that year I got dropped early and eventually pulled before the end of the race. I had never been more disappointed with myself, it was just a bad day with lack of training leading in to it.
So this year I was ready for some sort of redemption. I still haven't been training like I used to, or would like to, but was feeling good heading in to this year's race and had the plan to simply do the best I could, ride smart, corner well, stay out of the wind, and do the best I could. There was a good field of women with all the categories making up a field of 33 and I started out feeling good. I was moving through the pack to be in the position I wanted to, but wasn't aggressive enough to hold the wheels I wanted to and would slip backward and have to use unnecessary energy to move back where I wanted to. I saw all the attacks as they were happening and positioned myself well to react without having to over exert myself, but then an attack went that was just too fast for me and I saw 14 riders ride past me, leaving me in no mans land.
I rode hard by myself for several laps until the chase group behind me caught up and I rode with a group of about 7 riders, always staying in the top 3 and doing my share of work at the front. With 5 laps to go I started planning where I would initiate my sprint for the finish line with the plan to be the first one in my group to cross the last line. The last lap went as I thought it would and a few women in my pack initiated an early sprint, then I jumped and started chasing them down, but one women was a bit too strong for me and I came second in my group, top half out of all the women, and I won my category. Turns out I won $100, some cool prizes, and made new friends, not a bad way to spend Canada Day!