After crashing out of the Women’s Elite criterium Friday night at the USA Cycling national road championships, Brooke Miller (Tibco-To The Top) spoke with VeloNews about the crash that split the front of the race and her emotions after the finish.
As Miller discussed her team’s performance Friday, she at first fought back the tears that later flowed, clearly displaying both her praise for her teammates and her disappointment in the outcome.
VeloNews: You were feeling good today.
Brooke Miller: I was so excited to race today. I was really, really hungry and I had amazing legs. More importantly, my team was phenomenal today and I was sitting there in the race the whole time feeling giddy inside to be part of a team like this.
Riders like Ali Starnes, who is not the most comfortable in crits, got up and attacked and in the end she got up there for the leadout.
VN: Samantha Schneider was right there.
BM: Sam’s focus was incredible. She was just focused on Meredith’s wheel. We have an expression in the team that you’re wearing the pants — the ‘F you pants,’ where you’re just tense, and we were all so focused.
VN: What happened in the crash that took you down in the last corner on the penultimate lap?
BM: Meredith (Miller) moved up through a small hole and then Sam went and then I went. And then as we came around the corner, it pinched. Meredith and Sam were able to get through another small hole and then it closed on me.
There were two riders, not from the top teams, riders that I’m not normally racing with and bumping elbows with, that slipped in front of me and I thought, ‘You know, this is fine. If I bump them and try to move back up on Sam, they’re going to overreact and crash.’ There are some riders that you can bump and others you can’t. These were riders that I wasn’t going to experiment with bumping, so the hole closed on me and so we were to go around the corner and I was going to jump around them as soon as we got around the corner and get back on Sam.
As we were going around the corner, one of the girls just slid out. I don’t know who it was who went down.
VN: What happened next?
BM: I was quite angry and wasn’t able to say who it was that I wanted to tell that I wasn’t happy.
VN: There were a few crashes in that corner today. Was it loose or anything?
BM: Not a loose corner. We had done it 38 times totally safe, plenty of places to go.
VN: How are you physically?
BM: After playing competitive volleyball for 10 years, I do feel confident that I know how to fall, because I hit the ground and rolled into a hay bale. Hay bales are great to crash into, because they don’t hurt. I think I’m OK, I just have a little bit of road rash.
VN: A disappointing way for nationals to finish.
BM: I could taste it today and with my team racing like that, we wanted to make the race hard because it’s dangerous when you have a flat, four-corner race and a lot of riders that don’t know what they’re doing, so we wanted to make the race really hard. We wanted to make tag-team attacks, send two riders up the road, and everyone was perfect today. And this is really, really hard to take. I’m really mad.
That really hurt, not the impact part.