Seeing one lap to go surprised me. Where did the time go? I was on the front, getting ready for any late race attacks and had my nose out in the wind much more than I should have.
The late race attack comes up the left hand side of the road and the group chases hard. I take several hard power pedal strokes to maintain my speed and then relax settling into the draft in front of me, knowing we still have plenty of time. We're roughly 4km to the finish line.
The last few kilometers are all about staying in position and not falling for any accelerations that might zap the legs for the final sprint. It's also an exercise of patience and trusting your teammate to do what we had talked about prior to the race. You're trying to conserve and be ready to pounce, like a tiger on its prey.
Heather takes the lead going into the second to last corner, accelerating hard making a couple of riders anxious. There's a little reshuffling in the position but I maintain my spot. We make the final left hand turn with Heather still in the lead and I'm sitting fourth wheel. Kori is up out of the saddle along the right side of the road - the best place to be with the wind. Her move is early but I would be foolish not to follow it. We still have 400 meters to the finish line and Christa accelerates as well, coming on the inside of Kori. I know the move is now or never.
Up out of the saddle, all of my power pounds on the pedals, carrying me past Kori and Chritsa. We still have 150 meters to go, and that was everything I have. I hear the crowd from the sidelines and think I hear a rider approaching. I look under my right arm, then glance over my left shoulder. I've created a nice gap and no one is contesting me so I raise my arms high and proud in a V for victory.
The euphoria stays with me for two seconds and then exhaustion takes over. I slump over, surprised by the first win of the year. Tickled that everything went according to plan. Stoked that my teammate did exactly what we had talked about and I was able to deliver a win for the team. I can't wait to repay the favor!