Gateway Cup | Race Recap
This was my second time at Gateway Cup. It’s a 4-day race that takes place at various locations across St. Louis. All the venues are beautiful and have a different, but welcoming vibe at each location. City streets lined with historic houses, beautiful sprawling parks, and all the local brews and friendly fans you could possibly ask for.
Friday, the first day of the race was the Tour de Lafayette. Based in a little under a one mile square neighborhood it boasted four 90 degree turns. The roads were wide and fairly clear of any major potholes. Saturday’s course was Tour de Francis Park, a 1.3 mile rectangle course with wide sweeping turns and a slight uphill finish. The Giro Della Montagna was the 3rd and final day of racing for me. Four tight corners, one slight uphill climb and a significant downhill finish. I raced the 3/4/5 field and there were 40+ riders registered each day.
I knew several of the girls were excellent sprinters and I assumed it would be a sprint finish each day, with the race actually starting with 3 to 4 laps to go. Sprinters are notorious for sitting in and waiting until the last minute to make their attack. Ideally I wanted to stay in the top 3, or top 5 at least with enough room to move should an attack go. It’s difficult to learn how to sit near the front but not actually on the front. A tactic I’ve been working on all year. It took a lot of work but it was a whole lot easier than trying to ride in the middle or towards the back and risk getting gapped. Assuming the races would come down to sprint finishes I knew I would need to be fearless in the last few laps and work to hold my positioning so I could surf through the pack and hold the right wheel to carry me to the finish line. Confidence is crucial towards the last few laps. I chose to ride and believe that I was a contender and tried to put all my doubts aside. My goal in all three races was to be in the right position for the sprint. The last lap with sprint finishes is usually complete chaos compared to the previous laps. Everyone is scrambling and fighting to get into position too. It can be aggressive and you really have to fight to hold your place. Each corner coming into the last lap I had to be dedicated to cornering at full speed and pedaling through at full power. There was no room for hesitation – a lesson I’ve learned over and over and over again this year. Don’t hesitate, just go.
My assumptions were correct and all three of the races came down to a sprint finish. I was out sprinted all three days by the 2018 USA Cycling Road Nationals Junior Champion, Marissa Carter as well as two other impressive juniors. Their sprint is unparalleled. I did manage to finish 3rd, 3rd, and 4th during the three days I raced. This race weekend, unlike the race weekends prior, I finally felt like all my training and experience came together. But the biggest accomplishment of all was the offer from Wolfpack Women’s Racing p/b HyperThreads, an Austin, Texas based team. Their roster for the 2018 season included the 2018 USA Cycling Crit National Champion Leigh Ann Ganzar and 2017 Cat 1 Road Race Masters National Champion Carolyn Defoore. I met the Pack leader earlier in the season when I was cheering for Jessica Brooks and her teammate in Texas. It was love at first sight for me. They stand for everything I love about women’s racing. They are supportive, united, and they build their community in a way that inspired me to want to do more for the community I live in. They announced my position on their team on my birthday and it was, by far, the best present I’ve ever received.
A special thanks to our sponsors, City Title & Closing, Smithfield, Shoulder Center of Arkansas, The Bike Route, Clif Bar & Custom Electronics for making it possible for our team to travel around the region doing what we love.
Tour de Lafayette
Heart Rate: 186 avg. 205 Max
Tour de Francis Park
Heart Rate: 183 avg. 205 Max
Giro Della Montagna
Heart Rate: 175 avg. 208 Max