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Wed, Oct. 23

Prescott’s Olympian shares her last report from Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO – This is my last report from Rio but my first as an official Olympian.

On Saturday, we were called up to the start line in the order of our international rank, and formed rows of eight racers across the track. This is the first strategic decision made in any race — where do you position yourself at the start for the best advantage.

I had the 23rd call-up which put me in the third row, and I selected a spot on the far left of the track. With one minute to go to the race start, riders press towards the start line and any order to the starting grid gives way to a closely packed mass of riders.

We had one minute to wait in position before we were told by the official, ‘race starts in the next 15 seconds.’ By that point, you’re primed to start and staring down the track ahead. Then the gun goes off.

With the first corner sweeping to the left, I remained safely on the inside and maintained position. On the next right hander, I accelerated on the outside and took the corner wide. It was a bit risky but I moved up with little physical effort. I similarly navigated the next few corners and once the field separated as a result of the pace, I had moved up a handful of positions.

On the first descent, I shifted into a higher gear to accelerate out of a corner—nothing happened. No shifting. Nada. I had one gear to pedal to the next tech zone and lost valuable time on the most critical lap of the race. I left the tech zone solidly in last place and didn’t have time to process the situation.

My bike worked again, I was more than ready to race, in the best shape of my life, and at the Olympics. So I went out and raced my heart out. It was an unforgettable experience and, perhaps, the biggest moment of my career. I finished in 14th place. And just like that, the biggest race of my life just happened and I’m happily headed home to collect my furry-kid (my dog) and weed-whip the yard. I’ve enjoyed sharing these experiences with you all.

Pedal on.

– Chloe Woodruff

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