First Day NVGP by Lauren Stephens

The first day of Nature Valley is a double stage. In the morning is a 7.7 mile TT in St. Paul along the river followed by a criterium in downtown St. Paul in the evening. 

The weather was not ideal. It started raining about the time we arrived at the couse andit continued to rain through out the TT. Manel (director) hadna simple plan "full power" pretty straight forward.  Our top rider Claudia Hausler finished 6th 21 seconds behind the leader followed by Selley Olds 25 seconds back. I finished 48 seconds back. 

After the TT we came back to our host family to eat and sleep before the Crit. Our Crit wasat 6:15 we headed out about 4:00 to get stuck in traffic and only get there right at an hour before the race. At first it was a little stressful but then I made the decision there was nothing I could change so just stay calm and get focused. 

As soon as we arrived to the Crit we had our team meeting. The plan was for me to go for the intermediate sprints and set Shelley up for the finish. I got caught up in a crash only 8 minutes in to the race. When I got to the pit Andres (mechanic) was there to check my bike over. With everything being good to go I calmed down relaxed and focused. Quickly the first sprint came around at 18 to go  I finished 3rd. The second sprint was at 8 to go I finished 2nd. Shelley and I had a gap along with a Colivita rider after the sprint. We kept our gap for a lap. Once we got caught it was 7 to go I fell a little far back. My team was at the front. At 1 to go our lead out was in jeopardy with Optum getting organized behind us. 

We finished 3rd with Shelley. She is now only 10 seconds back and will be wearing the most aggressive rider jersey today. 


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