Racing the Valley Of The Sun Stage Race was a great new experience for me. Road Racing is so much different than MTB Racing. I need to learn and develop different strategies and tactics. Before the race we had very limited time and didn’t do much training because we are still squarely placed in Winter. So my Dad/Coach decided we should spend that time practicing doing several Time Trials since they are such huge parts of the General Classification results. I practiced having a consistent, high cadence, high speeds and aerodynamics.
At the Time Trial Race, breezy conditions made me focus on my cadence and aerodynamics. It help me keep my speed up!
The Criterium course had large potholes and rough roads. The bike handling skills, I learned from riding and racing MTB’s over the last 5 years made that part of the race easy. During my race I narrowed my tactics and focused on who we thought was the biggest threat in the Crit, but, I lost sight of a even larger strategy, staying in contact with the main peloton filled with 13-14 boys and 15-16 girls.
I allowed a gap to form and I wasn’t able to reacquire the draft. It turned out to be a major mistake! Two of the 10-12 boys, were in the peloton. This forced me to pull at the front of the chase group every lap to try to protect my General Classification leaders jersey. When was all over I saved a 2nd in the GC, but the Crit was a tactical disaster. I let 2 of my competitors ride away in the Peloton and one took 1st in the GC, I threw away 1st or 2nd in the Crit and I was too spent to sprint for the podium
It would have been great to get to experience the Road Race, but Race officials decided it was unsafe the 10-12 Juniors. It was fun to be able to apply the skills I practiced in the TT.
The Valley of the Sun Stage Race was awesome! I would love to do it again! I placed 2nd in GC, 1st in the Time Trial and 5th in the Criterium! I can see that I have a lot to learn to be able to apply the correct tactics in each of the road racing disciplines!