|Christie Tracy celebrating the win with a well-earned bottle of champagne|
from Driveway sponsor Whip In
This is my first year racing on the ATC Women’s Racing Team, and it has been a year full of learning, growth, and achievements, both personally and as part of a wonderful team.
I started the 2015 Race Season as a brand new cat 3 who had never raced on a women’s racing team before. I had one solid year of racing as a cat 4 under my belt, but had been racing as the solo female bike racer on a team comprised of primarily triathletes and male bike racers. As a result, I was entirely unfamiliar with how team tactics "worked," and I had a lot of learning to do when it came to basic racing technique and learning how to read a race as it unfolded.
My teammates have been an invaluable asset this year – they have helped me to learn so much in such a short period of time through the celebration of achievements and constructive criticism of mistakes used as teaching moments. I feel that my knowledge of bike racing techniques and tactics has grown tenfold this year, and has contributed significantly to my personal successes recently, as well as my ability to work for my teammates and support/back up their efforts during races, and our overall success as a team.
Most local Austin Bike Racers know me as "the registration girl" at the Driveway because I spent most of last year volunteering at the local Driveway Bike Race Series in an effort to stay involved with the racing community while I recovered from not one, but two, collarbone breaks. As a result, the Driveway Series, as well as its volunteers, spectators, and those who come to race their bikes, are very special to me. When I started racing again this year after recovering from last year’s injuries, it frustrated me to no end that I couldn’t pull out a decent placement in any of the Driveway Series Races! Don’t get me wrong – I learned SO much in the early season races, and helped to support many successful finishes by my kick-ass teammates, but for some reason I just could never seem to pull out a podium at the Driveway for myself!
That is why, when asked to write up a short piece on my racing successes this year, I chose to focus on my recent first place finish in a Driveway Series Women’s Open race. This win was so special to me first because it required such a team effort in order to earn it, and second, because it happened at my favorite place on earth – Disneyland for the Bike Racer – The Driveway Bike Race Series Austin.
My first win ever at the Driveway came on July 2 in the Women’s Open 5 p.m. race. (If you’ve never come out to watch this race – you have no idea what a good show you’re missing! What are you waiting for? Come check it out this Thursday!!) It was Ladies' Night, and there was a pretty decent field size, thanks in part to the additional primes and prizes generously donated for the ladies' races by local businesses. We were racing the speed loop, which started out with a climb up the corkscrew followed by a long, fast straightaway with a gradual descent.
|Christie's race-winning attack up the corkscrew|
I lined up in the 95-degree sweltering heat next to about 30 other ladies and looked around to find my teammates. We had five strong ladies racing: Marla Briley, Chelsea Smith, Katie Kantzes, Estefy Gonzales, and myself. The whistle blew, and I attacked hard from the line. I looked over my shoulder as I crested the corkscrew and saw that I had a small gap, so I just tucked my head and poured on the gas. The field caught me just before the turnaround, and Marla launched a counterattack, flying off the front of the peloton and forcing the other teams to grit their teeth and burn matches in order to chase her down. Marla built a decent gap as well, but was eventually reeled in, at which point Katie attacked, shooting off the front like a cannonball! I heard someone mutter under their breath at this point "C’MON, REALLY??" and I knew that our attacks were already starting to take their toll on the competition. Katie’s attack also resulted in a gap, and when it was closed, Chelsea countered with the force of a charging bull. Once again, the peloton was forced to redline it in order to prevent a solid break. When Chelsea was caught, I countered, and we continued this cycle of attack/counter/attack throughout the race.
|Celebrating after the race: ATC Racing's Estefy, Marla, Katie, and Christie|