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90mi and a Bike Race

By Courtney O'Neill | Jul 10, 2010

Race name: Bloomington Cycling Grand Prix
Race date: Saturday, Jul 10, 2010

Hello from the road! I am just over 1,000 miles into my cross country ride from Boston to Santa Barbara with Bike & Build this summer. It has been fun, exhausting (mostly from leader duties, to say nothing of the biking), and generally awesome.

As we made our way out of the mountains and into the midwest, our days have been getting longer. Friday was our first century day, followed by a 90 mile day in to Bloomington, IN (famously captured in Breaking Away).

And lo and behold, when we rolled into town there was a bike race happening a block away from our overnight host. Well, between peer pressure and my own secret desire to race my bike I decided to sign up for the Women's Open. I had 90 miles under my belt already, but that just meant that I was really warmed up, right?

As they started call ups I realized that Becca Finley, of cycling powerhouse Marian University, was on the line. Oh crap, I thought, this is going to be really fast and I'm not quite sure how my legs are going to hold up. And fast it was. I was hanging on for the first 20 or so minutes until I unfortunately (or fortunately for my legs maybe) got caught behind a crash and lost contact with the peloton.

I spent the last half of the race with a two other riders, then by myself when they clearly didn't want to work, then with two others that I bridged to. The racing, however, is not the interesting part. It was my fan base of 31 Bike & Builders who were cheering at the top of the incline with letters painted on their chests doing coordinated cheers and the wave and ridiculous things on every time I came through. The announcer took note of the mayhem and spent a couple laps talking about Bike & Build and how I had already biked 90 miles today.

I finished for 20th. Mehh. But it was maybe one of the most fun races I've done.

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