We headed to Redlands a couple days later. Redlands was the biggest and best it's ever been apparently. 150 women including a few international teams (it was a UCI event this year!). It's funny having just read about these women in the past and now racing at the same races as them. The Prologue was a 5k TT that had a couple of pretty good rollers and a long false flat before a long steep climb to the finish. I decided that the false flat was long enough to use the TT bike. Definitely felt like crap- I thought, at this point, that I was having bad allergies, but a couple days from then I'd finally realize it was a cold...again. Casey did really well and placed 52nd.
Stage 1 was the Beaumont Road Race. It was craaaazy-windy and we started out really fast. On this one basically flat but barely downhill 5 mile section, we hit 52mph. You kinda have to spin absurdly fast to get any sort of tension to keep up. I ended up in a group of ~50, including Ashley and Kendall. We finished about 13 minutes back. Casey, Shannon, and Coryn were all able to stay up with that front group of ~20. All-in-all, 96 girls made time cut out of 150! Stage 2 was the crit in downtown Redlands. Seven turns per lap, including two almost 180* turns. It was hard to move. Stage 3 was the Sunset Road Race. I'm not sure why it's even called a road race since the loop was 6 miles. This was a super technical course- climbing and half descending and 20 turns per lap! As you can imagine, it pretty much was torn apart...people even started falling off in the neutral section. Shannon and Casey stayed in about the second or third group (there were seriously like a dozen groups) and the rest of us were a little bit behind. It was a really cool course- I just wish I had been able to enjoy it more instead of being in pain :-p All in all, Redlands was a great experience and definitely the toughest race I've done. A big thanks to Coryn's family, Randy and Lisa, and our host family in Redlands for taking good care of us the past couple of weeks. And a big thanks to Nathan for somehow being the one-man show (who knows how he does it).
I've enjoyed a bit of recovery this week and am getting ready to head to Dallas for the Metro VW Crit and Crit Clinic this weekend. I'll be coming back to Austin with a couple of exams for the week :-\