CVR Worldcup LA
CVR Worldcup LA was the experience of a lifetime. I finally got the race I have wished for, where I left it all out there, and finished with nothing left. I'll be honest, I got there just by showing up in the league races, and winning my bracket due to lack of competition. So I went to LA not for the prize money, but to race some really strong women and see if I could hang. There was an ITU age group world champion, last year's valley of the sun winner, and women who regularly race against pros. In the mens race was professional triathlete Lionel Sanders!
CVR is a quarterly Zwift race series that culminates in a live final, this time at the LA velodrome. It was all extremely professional, with weigh-ins, Cycleops trainers all calibrated by Cycleops, commentators and live streaming.
In my Saturday women's qualifying heat I was just hoping to make the cut for the Elite finals. The top 4 out of 10 in each heat went to the Elite finals, and everyone else to the Performance finals. I felt amazing in that race, like a million bucks. Robin had my training dialed in perfectly! I was having the race of my life. I made it into the lead pack with 3 other women, so we all were going to Elite finals. I tried to conserve energy for the big race the next day, so when Claudia (the favorite) went off the front I let her go, but I couldn't resist a big sprint finish. I took second, and hit new peak power numbers. I had made the Elite finals! I finally felt I belonged there.
Sunday- Elite finals- a race format designed by a masochist for sure! 3 back to back 25-30 min Zwift races with only a few minutes in between. That's one hard start, multiple digs, and a give it your all sprint finish, just to do it all over again in a few minutes, two more times...
The first race was a mountain climb. I followed when Claudia attacked and everyone got strung out. I wanted so badly to let of the gas but there was a train of women on my heels. I couldn't back off a bit, and kicked it up to 600 watts at the end to come in 3rd! I felt OK, but HR was very high. 4 minutes later, it was time for the second race on the hilly route. It started with a flat out sprint from Claudia. I felt terrible. I was wondering why I was doing this. I wanted to stop but I just kept pedaling. Mike Davis, one of the male racers, did an amazing job of coaching me through the race, telling me when to settle down, when to be ready to dig, and when to dig deep. Carey attacked on the climb and it was go time. 2 of the favorites got dropped but I hung on- it was tough. It ended in a bunch sprint but I went too early and was caught, taking 4th place.
Going into the last stage which was fairly flat I was in 3rd place but I felt even more terrible. Every pedal stroke was a ton of effort. It was all I could do to stay in the group and keep pedaling, dig on the hills, and not get dropped. Heart rate was super high. All hell broke loose on the final sprint, Carey went super early from the back, caught everyone off guard, I reacted too late, brain was not working, had nothing left in the legs, and ended up 9th, dropping to 5th overall. Later realized I took in no calories during the race, oops!
I have never been pushed so hard. That was the experience of a lifetime, a real pro style experience. CVR World Cup is leading the way, and setting a high bar, in terms of equality for women in cycling. Equal courses, equal support, equal coverage, equal prize money. A truly amazing experience. And the prize money! I took home $1530 for 5th place and the winner took home over $7500!
The next CVR league season starts 4/3. Races are every 3 hours on Tuesdays on Zwift, you can join any zone that works for your schedule. Check out CVRworldcup.com. The next live event will be in June in Vancouver. Check out the archived race stream on CVR worldcup Facebook page.