After the road race, Nik decides to ride the 20 minutes back to the hotel to spin out his legs in anticipation of the next day’s early criterium. His race starts at 9:15am in the morning, but Yoly’s starts at an earlier 8am. It’s now 6pm and time to recover by eating, showering, eating, and finally sleeping. I attend a meeting at the race hotel hosted by the National Collegiate Cycling Association’s board of trustees and am impressed with the tenor of the meeting and the creative ideas proposed. I enjoy hearing the strategies that other conferences employ to continue collegiate cycling’s growth. But exhausted from handing out that one bottle to Nik in the road race, I eagerly make my way back up to our room to make final preparations for the morning and get some sleep. Yoly is already asleep and obviously still not feeling herself. Nik is still in laptop land. Lights out and we start squeezing in sleep before our 5:30am wake-up call.
The morning comes abrupt with the ringing of the beside phone, but after a quick buffet breakfast downstairs, we can see through the windows a brightening blue sky and trees standing still. No wind today, but it’s colder, temperatures expected in the 40’s for Yoly and Nik’s start. Yoly gets a good 40 minute warm-up on the figure eight course, which is great for spectators as it allows for great viewing where the loops meet. We scan the competition and point out the winner of yesterday’s road race and one of the field’s top pros, Kimberly Geist, as riders to watch and follow. We hope the race will end in a field sprint and that Yoly will unleash her finishing speed to land on the podium. She hands me her jacket and makes her way to the start line. The race starts and starts fast. These women are all business. And it’s attack after attack. I can tell from the 2nd lap that Yoly is struggling with the speed. She’s still sick and the altitude has really had a bad effect on her. About midway through the race, she succumbs and pulls out. She’s more than disappointed and I understand. But so many things have to come together on any given day for a rider to perform at the highest level, and unfortunately for Yoly this just isn’t her day. But she’s a tough one and by the end of the day we are planning to get some redemption at track nationals.
Nik’s race report is next.