Labor Day Weekend I traveled to St. Louis, MO to race three of four races of the 22nd edition of the Staenberg Group Gateway Cup. Friday was Tour de Lafayette which I did not make it in time to race since the drive from Pittsburgh to St. Louis is about 9 hours. Although, I forgot that the time change to central time makes the drive only take 8 hours of the day to get there, so I could have made it in time to race without having to leave at 4am.
Saturday was Tour de Francis Park it was at least 95 degrees or hotter which was horrible since I was not used to weather that hot. I never thought I would miss Kansas summer temperatures except for it is good training for races when it is 90 to 100 degrees. I felt like I was starting to overheat in the last lap or so but I still finished with the pack to get 24 out of 35.
Sunday was Giro della Montagna, this race is in The Hill neighborhood which has fantastic Italian restaurants. However, the course did not have much of a hill for it to be on "The Hill." Toward the end of the race I was on the front and the announcer said something like "Stephanie Lamb from Dynamic Physical Therapy p/b Pathfinder from Pittsburgh, PA is on the front" then he went on a tangent about the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Pittsburgh Pirates who would play each other the next weekend. This little bit of hill on this course made the race a little more interesting because my friend Karen (who is very skinny and therefore hills are her strength) drove the pace a lot through the race especially up the hill but since she still has junior gears the sprint to the finish which is on a little bit of a downhill means her speed tops out when the rest of us can still shift a couple of times. I got caught up behind a rider who's spokes were broken by another riders skewer (luckily no one crashed) so I again finished just with the pack rather than having a good position for the sprint to end up getting 17 out of 31. Which was somehow my best finish of the weekend even with getting stuck behind an almost crash.
Monday was my favorite day, the Benton Park Classic has 10 corners! This makes the course very technical and pretty long. I rode in the front quarter of the pack for most of the race which gave me a great position for the second prime of the race. I went for it and got it, I think only one other woman sprinted with me for it but she let up as soon as we crossed the line. I kept riding hard which put me off the front of the pack for about half of the very long course. At that point I wish I was better at time trials because this was within the last 2 or 3 miles of the race. If I could have stayed off the front that would have been awesome but I couldn't do that, so I again did not have a good position for the final sprint and I finished with the pack (21 out of 32).
Overall the weekend was a lot of fun. I need to learn how to position myself well for a final sprint with a group of about 30 riders.