by Sarah Rice

The next day’s race was Melon City, in Muscatine, IA, where my brother and sister-in-law and favorite niece live. Steve and Karen put us up and fed us and about 10 of our hungry bike racer friends. One of the things I like best about this sport is that we are constantly surrounded by awesome camaraderie and hospitality.

Kristen pulled out of Snake Alley because her lungs weren’t feeling good. She decided to sit out Melon City, a wise decision. These weren’t the right races for someone who was feeling less than 100%. Melon city was in a beautiful  park, with hills and turns. Karen and Analise, my niece, and Eric and Kristen and Jason were all there to cheer me on, and I planned to “double”- race Cat2/3, then race P1/2/3 later. I was well in control of the Cat2/3 race and in good position, except for the infamous speed bump at the bottom of the hill. I landed on my front wheel and felt like I would fall forward onto my face every time. After 6 laps, for the first time ever in a crit, I lost my nerve. For the first time ever in my entire life, I pulled out of a race. There aren’t words to express the fear and disappointment that I felt. I felt my broken face too, and I wasn’t happy about that. After a lot of drama and excuses, I went back with Kristen to watch the P1/2/3 race. My excuses vanished. Debbie Milne demolished the field, landing the speed bump the same way I did, on her front wheel every time. The difference was that after she landed, she took off fast. Noted.