Just a quick update as we're about to head out for our final race this afternoon. Yesterday's race was pretty ridiculous. It was in the low 90s so the heat was definitely going to be a factor. The course was a wide open L shape and was less techincal than Friday night. Roads were mostly flat with one small riser on the backside and a slight downhill before the last corner.
We start the race and things are going smoothly - the pace is high but manageable. Ten minutes in as we come through the start/finish stretch I'm in the front third of the field near the right side barriers. All of a sudden I hear that horrible sound of bikes crashing in front of me to my left. Carrie from Team Rev is right in front of me and is nearly able to miss it but goes down and I have nowhere to go but into her (sorry Carrie!!) The pile up is huge and girls are everywhere. I immediately jump up and try to find my bike - it's nowhere in sight. Finally I find it about 10 feet up the road from where I landed. All the girls are scrambling to get up and get to the pit which is just in front of where we crashed. The officials are yelling that the race as has been neutralized so we all try to calm down and assess the damage.
My finger is bleeding from getting caught on a chainring - it's really not that bad - and my left forearm is pretty scratched up. All in all I'm incredibly lucky and everything is okay. It's sort of chaotic and the pit is full of girls trying to get their bikes working. Luckily all of my teammates are fine so we go get some cold water and find some shade to stand in. Ten minutes later we're back on the line to restart our now shortened race.
I admit to being a bit nervous after that and my position was not the greatest for the rest of the race. There were a few moves off the front but you could tell this race was going to end in a bunch sprint. With two laps to go I tried to move further up but couldn't crack the top 20. Catherine rode great all race and finished an awesome 12th. Ally was also riding well and ended up just out of the money for 22nd. I came across 35th and Jill (in her first NRC 1/2 race ever) rode like a rock star and finished 36th. Kat was also riding strong and was 46th. I am so glad that none of us were seriously injured. Carrie unfortunately didn't get back in and had some pretty serious rash on her hands, elbow and shoulder.
Today we've got a technical course down on the river with a power climb in it. I'm always a sucker for those power climbs so I'm hoping to crack the top 20 today! We race in the heat of the day and with temps in the 90s again it's going to be pretty steamy! I'll hit the road after the race today so next update will be from home in Wisconsin!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday night was the first race in the Tulsa Tough bike races. Three days of crits with nearly $40,000 on the line for women. It's great to see a race offer up so much prize money and important to come support these races. I left Madison Thursday afternoon and stayed over in St. Louis (thanks so much Carrie and Chris from Team Rev!) and finished off the drive Friday morning.
Kat, Ally, and I are staying in host housing with our awesome host Beth. Tulsa is a really great city with tons of recreationally minded folks. We've been really impressed with the bike paths, the friendly people, and the cool downtown.
With over 90 women signed up for the races and the start list was stacked with big names and teams. Friday nights course was a fast, technical 8 corner hour glass shaped course. You never like to think about crashes but given the field size and all of the corners we knew they were likely. Positioning would be key as gaps would probably be opening and the pace would be kept high.
I managed to be in the top 20 right from the line and moved my way up to the top 10 in the first few laps. I sometimes struggle with my positioning so I was happy to be up there and tried hard to stay near the front. The fluid dynamics of a 90 woman peloton gliding through corners of a course like that is always a beautiful thing. The whir of the chains and being inches from riders on all sides is always an adrenaline rush. Five laps in I found myself losing my good spot and drifting further back. I settled in mid pack and tried to keep moving up.
Cool picture of Kat!
There were multiple primes and some riders were attacking near the front. About 15 minutes in I heard the first crash - it was just behind me and I was happy to have avoided it. 10 minutes later there was one in front of me and luckily I had enough time to avoid it. I had to come to a stop though and rolled over to the SRAM tent to get pushed back in. There was another serious crash on that same lap and a Vanderkitten rider was down on that corner for several laps before medical was able to move her off the course - hopefully she was okay.
The rest of the race was mostly about just staying safe and trying to move up whenever possible. All the corners made that pretty difficult and I found myself too content riding in the back half of the group. Team Kenda all finished safe and sound anyway with top finishes by Catherine in 26th and Ally in 27th. I was 53rd - not real happy with that and hopefully today's race will go a bit better. Not quite as many corners so perhaps that will be a good thing! The 90+ degree temps will not be pleasant though!
Thanks to everyone in Tulsa for putting on such a great event. We hung out and watched the mens crit last night and it was pretty fun to watch the action on the Jumbotron while we got some food at a deli. The community really supports this race and it's cool to see everyone come out and watch the races. Thanks so much to Beth for letting us stay with her too! She's been keeping us well fed and her espresso machine is our new favorite toy! I think Ally is on her 4th cup now!
I'll try to get an update in after today's race! Thanks for checking in!
Oh - and I have to mention how excited I am that the America's Dairyland Series has extended the racing by one day to include the proposed 2016 Olympic road race course on June 18th. The course is a ridiculously hilly loop (1800 ft./lap) out near Blue Mounds (roads I ride all the time - beautiful!) and finishes on a steep 1 mile long climb. I'm super stoked for this race even though I know it's going to be really tough. You should come do it if you can!!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Ashley, Monique (who is still recovering from her injury but came to support us!), and I (plus the Cider dog!) left Madison Saurday morning and got to Burlington just in time to see our mechanic Mike race the Cobble Climb. It's a ridiculously steep cobblestone alley that riders race up on mountain bikes. Mike did it in a kilt and rocked it - he finished 2nd in his age group - way to go Mike!
The clouds were moving in and there were a few sprinkles but luckily it stayed dry for our race. With almost 40 riders this was the one of the most talented fields this race has seen in 5 years. After winning in 2006 and 2007 and then finishing 2nd last year I admit I was hoping to go for the win (I mean this is the goal of racing right? :) But realistically I knew that would be extremely tough given the caliber of riders. Just 12 laps . . . 12 very painful laps.
From the gun Iowa native (Lipsmackers rider) Amanda Miller pushed the pace and had the group strung out with gaps opening quickly. Within the first two laps a group of 5 of us had formed - Amanda, TIBCO's Meredith Miller, Team BH's Devon Haskell, myself, and Mercy's Kim Eppen. By lap 4 I found myself gapped with Kim on my wheel. I tried to stay connected to the group of 3 but every time up the climb found that they slipped further away. They were in sight until about 4 laps to go. I'd look back to see that there were no chasers within sight. Kim never took a pull and I just tried to keep the pace high. With one lap to go as we were about to enter the Snake I see Devon being pushed as she had dropped her chain. I was nearly on her wheel and she got a small gap over the top. Through the backside of the course I got closer to her but as we neared the finish I decided to not try to outsprint her as I hadn't had "it" to make that front group. As we approached the line I was just behind her with Kim still on my wheel. I expected we'd finish in the order we had pretty much been in the entire race. Kim popped around me at the last second to take 4th.
Now I know the phrase "that's bike racing" can apply to numerous scenarios. Riders get mechanicals, some riders choose to conserve their energy as much as possible, crashes happen. All of these things can drastically change a race and the finishing results. I made my choices, I knew the possible outcomes. But I still wasn't real pleased at getting pipped at the line by a rider who sat on my wheel nearly the entire race. I know I'm not the smartest rider and perhaps my racing ethics are a little stupid. Oh well, the difference between 4th and 5th place is slight . . . no hard feelings - that's bike racing! :)
Catherine raced great and finished just behind me for 6th and Krystal rode amazing to take the final money spot of 12th. Ashley unfortunately dropped her chain on the first lap and had to run up the snake but fought through the race to finish 26th.
Sunday's race was the Melon City crit which is a one mile circuit with a short climb, and a crazy speed bump through a park. Over 50 women started this race. Several teams were well represented and it was a fun race with lots of attacks by Lip Smackers, Alderfer Bergen, and Team BH, and us. With so many teams represented and several strong solo riders a break never really formed. The group was whittled down to just over 30 riders and with 3 laps to go Meredith Miller went clear of the group for a prime and that was that. She's such a strong rider and once she turns on the gas she's gone. On the last lap I was trying to get in good position but was a bit far back and the usual last lap shenanigans forced me to have to slow down to get around on the outside and try to move up. I ended up 11th and my amazing teammate Catherine managed to get 3rd behind Amanda Miller. Both Krystal and Ashley rode really well and finished strong in the group.
We had a great afternoon spectating races in the park and socializing with other racers. It was really fun to catch up with people I hadn't seen in awhile and it was a beautiful day to be outside. Also thanks to some local DICE riders (and former Kenda rider Deb Wood!) we got in on a tasty pasta dinner - thanks for having us over Hammer!
The final race of the weekend is the Quad Cities Criterium in Rock Island, IL. Known as the "cage race" it's an hour glass shaped 8 corner course with wire fencing surrounding the course to prevent ignorant spectators from ambling out onto the road. It's totally flat and generally there are some crashes. The finicky spring weather can also add rain into the mix which it seriously threatened to do on Monday.
We got out early to watch Krystal in the womens 2/3 race - a unique category and a great race to watch.
****** I'll add the last part of the report soon!! ******
I forgot my camera (doh!) so thankfully Monique came out to support and take tons of great shots - I'll post some once she passes them on to me.
HUGE thanks goes out to our amazing team mechanic Mike and his wife Mary for all of their help throughout the weekend. We are so spoiled when they're around! And it's always nice to roll back to the car post race and have your pick of cupcakes, rice krispie treats, oreos, and frosted animal crackers :)
What a fun weekend! Thanks to everyone who came out to race/spectate/help out!
I leave tomorrow afternoon for 3 NRC crits down in Tulsa, Oklahoma - a new state for me! There's nearly $40,000 on the line and with 90 women signed up the racing is going to be pretty ridiculous. We'll have a team of 6 Kenda riders - should be a blast!
Monday, May 18, 2009
picture thanks to Monique
What a great weekend of racing in Wisconsin! Team Kenda only got stronger this weekend with Ashley joining us after coming back from her freshman year of college. Ridiculous winds, cool temps, and plentiful sunshine were the conditions for Saturday's road race in Denzer, WI. An undulating course through the beautiful Baraboo bluffs with two nearly mile long climbs per lap.
Jill, Ashley, and myself were representing Team Kenda with about 15 other girls on the line. Our plan was to just sort of see how the first lap went, knowing that all three of us climb well. Four miles into the race the climb began and I was feeling good so I rode near the front. I pushed a bit harder through the false flats and over the next rise and when I looked back only Ashley and Jill were immediately behind me with the strung out field several seconds behind them. I continued to keep the pace high and we began to work together. We were pretty excited by the possibility of the three of us staying off the front but it was still very early in the race.
Thanks to John of Peloton Pix
We could see a chase group of about 5 riders back in the distance. The head wind/cross wind sections were horrible - it felt like we were going so slow. The next mile long climb came and we could see the chasers gaining on us. We all encouraged each other and as we got to the top Ashley had fallen off. We saw Julie from Planet Bike just behind us and I knew Jill and I should give it a go with just the two of us. Ashley is a smart racer and I knew she would try to grab Julie's wheel as she came through.
As Jill and I worked together I looked back and saw Ashley sitting on Julie's wheel. The rest of the chasers had gotten strung out on the climb and I could not see them. Jill and I were working well and our gap was getting bigger. Through the head wind section I looked back to see Ashley alone and time trialing her way up to us - Julie was no where in sight. Jill and I immediately sat up and once Ashley was up to us we turned on the gas and tried to give her a break from the wind. Julie had been pulling the entire time and dropped her chain. Ashley attacked her and was able to make it back up to us.
We were determined now to stay away and the three of us practiced our team time trial skills for the next lap. It was really fun to ride with my two teammates all day off the front of the race. It was such a beautiful course too and the views of the hilly countryside were stunning. Both Jill and Ashley were riding really strong and as we finished off the lap we decided to give Ashley the win on the day. Her determination and smart racing kept her in that break and she deserved to take the W.
Here's a picture of the finish . . . we'll have to get Ashley to practice a better victory salute ;)
Thanks to John of Peloton Pix
Sunday brought a criterium around the Capital in Madison. Generally this is Wheels on Willy weekend but because of some road construction the race was relocated to around the square. I've never gotten a chance to race around the Capital so I was pretty excited. It's always fun to race on home turf and have lots of friends out there cheering for you. Thanks to the Brazen Dropouts for all of their hard work putting on this great race.
It was a picture perfect day with calmer winds, lots of sun, and warmer temps. A talented field of over 30 riders on the line. A few more teammates today with Shelley, Theresa, and Imelda coming out. Monique (who is still recovering from the Iowa City crash) was our cheerleader and photographer for the day and it was great to have her there. The race was fast and furious from the start as Madeleine from Team BH attacked and was off the front for almost two laps. BH rode a really good race with her teammates Devon, Kristen, and Anne riding smart and aggressively. Jill and I were also doing some attacking of our own trying to get a break off although nothing seemed to stick.
I took the first prime by just nipping Devon on the line. The field split at about this point and a group of about 15 gapped the rest of the pack.
About mid race the Superweek prime (free entry to the entire 14 race series) was called out and I happened to be in a good position with the field strung out. I came around Devon before the last corner and took it. Hmmmm . . . I hadn't really planned on doing those races as I have a busy race schedule in June/early July. Regardless, it's worth a lot of money and either myself or one of my teammates will be racing the series. Attacks kept flying as the laps counted down. Jill was riding really well trying to get something to work.
As we came through with one lap to go we lapped the remnants of the field and Devon was at the front stringing out our group with Kristen on her wheel. I was just behind them and didn't feel like I had enough power or time to move up before the last corner, which is 200m or less from the line. We rounded that corner and as Kristen came around Devon I tried to move up on her but she's too fast and the line came too soon. picture by MoniqueKristen took the win, I was 2nd, Devon 3rd and Jill finished 5th. What a great, fast race - the primes and constant attacks kept the pace high and we averaged just over 24mph for the 40 minute race.
picture by Monique
It was a really fun day and it was great to chat with people who came out to spectate. Mo, Jill, and I grabbed some drinks and snacks at the outdoor seating at an Irish pub on the square and watched a few of the afternoon races. It was a blast.
Thanks again to Monique for coming out to cheer us on and take so many great pictures!
This upcoming Memorial Day weekend includes one of my favorite races - Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa on Saturday. The short but intense race goes up the steep, cobbled switchbacks of the "Snake" and it feels as much like a TT as a criterium. The field is going to be stacked this year with many incredibly strong riders making the trip for this legendary Midwest race. It's going to be a really fun weekend of racing and I'll try to get in an update if I can!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sorry for the delay in getting any race updates here. I sort of took a break from the internet during the race and didn't get a chance to write up any entries.
I absolutely love this race every year and was really looking forward to this year's sure to be fast edition. Therefore on the drive down I was a little upset with my scratchy throat and congested head. I pretty much started to lose my voice on Wednesday and was popping Zicam and drinking tons of water to try to prevent myself from getting any worse. Darn it - haven't been sick all year! :(
We had a great group put together for this race - Catherine, Christy, Denise, Jess, Kat, Krystal, Silke, and myself. We all had fabulous host housing arranged while we were in Fayetteville and I stayed with Marion and Carolyn again this year. These two seriously win an award for coolest, most generous hosts ever.
They stocked the house with so much amazing food and cooked up so many incredible meals for us - quality calorie replacement wasn't an issue at this stage race! Plus they have the two sweetest Daschunds I've ever met - Samantha and Sally - here they are tuckered out from a long day of cheerleading.
So . . . to the race report.
This race starts out with a 2.5 mile uphill time trial. With the talented field this year we all knew that time cuts were a possibility. We didn't really expect this year's winning time to be nearly a minute faster than last year's though. Team Type 1's Allison Powers rode an up the climb in an amazing 9:37 which made anyone above 12:02 face the cut. Unfortunately 13 girls were cut including Catherine, Christy, and Jess. It's really too bad that all these girls paid the entry and traveled so far to race their bikes only 2.5 miles. I'm not sure the race was made any "safer" by cutting these riders. Hopefully next year this stage is a prologue and a time cut isn't enforced.
I managed an 11:16 on the course and given how stuffed up I was and the difficulty I had breathing I was happy enough with my time. Four seconds faster than I rode last year and it put me in 41st on the stage. Denise was our top finisher with a fast 10:48. full results here
Friday was a 64 mile road race that included 25 miles of rolling hills before the main 10 mile climb (although it wasn't all entirely up). I was feeling better than Thursday but my head was still congested and I knew that I likely wouldn't be able to stick with the lead group up that climb. I was popped 8 miles in and got into a group of about 15 riders. We were pretty disorganized at first but finally got into a good paceline and ended up finishing just under 5 minutes behind the lead group of 30 riders. Both Silke and Denise were in that lead group and finished 20 and 22. Results
We were treated to a fabulous team dinner by Marion and Carolyn on Friday night - here's the chef hard at work. It was so much fun to all get together and hang out at their house. The fajitas were amazing - I need that recipe for your pork Marion! After dinner we all crashed on the couches and enjoyed some Food Network programming. And what Kenda dinner would be complete without one of Kat's amazing cookies! :)
Saturday was another road race - 70 miles. The clouds rolled in as we got ready in the parking lot and we all prepared for a wet race. About 5 miles in the drops started falling steadily. The race was pretty aggressive and lots of attacks were flying. I had good positioning and was playing around at the front of the race when I heard on the race radio at mile 25 that Denise had a flat tire. Before this race Denise was 20th GC, Silke 32nd, and I was back at 43rd. It was important to keep Denise up in the group so I dropped back to try to help her. Kat also did the same but the group wasn't slowing down any and it took a bit of time to get the flat changed. We could see the caravan up ahead and we worked to try to get back to the main group but they kept slipping further away. We were at a minute back for several miles and then slowly the gap opened. The three of us and a Veloforma rider pacelined knowing that it would take a miracle for us to catch back on and instead we had to focus on making the timecut and getting to race on Sunday. We rode pretty well together and kept the pace high. When we were 10 miles from the finish the moto told us we were 9 minutes back - I knew we were safe as the cut was likely to be about 20 minutes. A very frustrating day for us all - 45 miles of riding with just the four of us and we finished 11 minutes down on the field. Bad luck but a good team effort. Silke was riding well and even took a solo flyer near the end of the race but finished in the main group. Results
Sunday was the crit - a technical 8 corner course with a climb at the finish and a fast cobbled descent every lap. Generally the pack splinters pretty quickly in this race and the main field is fairly small. The rain started about an hour before our race. Ick - not a fun course in the rain. Luckily it stopped raining about 20 minutes before our race but the roads were still a bit wet. After a false start and a "practice" lap we were off and the pace was fast. Positioning was key and I was doing alright but had a hard time getting up to the front third of the field. After 20 minutes I was popped from the main group and joined a chase group that included Kat and a few other riders. We continued to ride and ended up being pulled with 5 laps to go and finished 4 minutes back of the leaders. The main group shrunk to only 25 riders and Denise rode like a rock star on a neutral bike and finished 17th. She went down in a weird crash off the line and rode the entire race on a bike that wasn't hers - nice work! results
All in all a really fun experience for the team despite some bad luck. I was pretty frustrated by my cold too and hope to knock it out of my system and be back at full health soon. Thanks to Paul and Mike for all of their help in the team car and getting the bikes all ready for us everyday.
Mike always "loves" the rainy days when he gets to go through and clean the bikes!
And another huge thank you to all of our wonderful host families - especially Marion and Carolyn. They were such a huge help in transporting us to races, helping us set up our team area before and after the races . . . and did I mention the food!? :)
Next up is some Wisconsin racing this weekend with a local road race on Saturday and a crit around the Capital Square in Madison on Sunday. Should be fun - thanks for checking in!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Decided to stick around close to home for some local racing this weekend. There was a road race in Baraboo which is just an hour from Madison and I was hoping to do the womens 30 mile race and follow that up with a 45 mile mens race - a bit ambitious and maybe a little stupid. Drove to the race with Jill and Madeleine which was lots of fun until Jill noticed a certain car behind her.
As he gave her the speeding ticket and bid us farewell he said he hoped we'd have a better day . . . little did he know.
It was a beautiful day - despite the stiff west wind, the rolling hills are green and the sun was shining. We registered and I was amazed to see there were 30 women signed up. ISCorp had 5, BH had 3, and MadCity Velo had about 8. Good to see some team presence as well as several solo riders come out to race. Jill and I were joined by Theresa from Milwaukee. The race was 2 laps of a 15 mile course. There is maybe a half mile climb about 5 miles in and another slightly shorter climb at about mile 10. We knew there was likely to be separation on the first climb and Jill and I knew we needed to be near the front to make the break.
The race started with Julie from Planet Bike keeping the pace high and once we made it to the climb she pushed even more. I was up there and decided to lead the charge and see if we could get a group to form. Over the top I looked back to see Jill on my wheel with about 7 other riders. We had a pretty big gap on the rest of the field. Jill went to the front and I dropped back to see if we could get the other riders to take turns and make this stick. No one seemed willing or able and I decided to put in a small attack and not give anybody a free ride. Jill came with me and we soon found ourselves together. I knew we weren't likely to ride the rest of the race together and could see two MadCity girls trying to bridge to us. I told Jill to ease up and get ready to work with these two. Laura and Kelley made it to us and we began to push the pace as we saw Kristen and Madeleine from BH with another rider not too far back trying to close the gap.
The cross and head winds were hellish and the four of us began to get in a rhythm and worked well together. We saw the group of 3 behind us for awhile but by the end of the first lap they were gone. We continued to work together and agreed we all wanted to make this stick and wouldn't start playing games until the last couple of miles.
Halfway through the lap I told Jill this was her race to win and that I wanted her to attack with 200m to the line. There were cones marking this point so I told her to look for those. She's riding so strong this year and I figured she could hold off the chase. I would grab a wheel and try to outsprint our two breakmates so that even if Jill got caught I would be in position to take the win.
As we approached the finish we spread out across the road and we tried to see where exactly the finish was. Jill knew to look for the cones and once we were there she surprised Laura and Kelley with her attack. Kelley responded and I moved in on her to take shelter from the strong crosswind. Jill had a good gap and easily took the win. As we came closer to the line I came around Kelley to take second.
photo from Peloton Pix (I know, I know - bad form!! - keep your head up!)
Awesome result for us. I screamed as I came across the line because I was so excited about our finish. I'm normally not a very emotional racer but this year has been so much fun racing with these girls. Seeing our tactics work out has been really rewarding. It was great being in the break with Laura and Kelley too - they are both incredibly strong.
Jill and I both signed up for the Masters 1/2/3 race so we got some food and switched numbers and lined up. As we began to roll we both remarked how heavy our legs felt and we both were nervous about that first climb. We were in a bad position to start and were hanging near the back of the 50 rider field. The pace was lifted on the hill and as we approached the top I popped. Jill made it until the false flat climb after and we soon found ourselves riding together. We hoped to get a little help from a guy we passed but he was gone and we worked together trying to catch a 3 man group that we could see up ahead. As we turned into the headwind our motivation began to wane and we decided we'd had enough. We finished the lap, told the officials we were DNFing and then rode another lap of the course backwards with Madeleine and Chris. Oh well - we got a bit more of a workout in! The wind was so ridiculous - coming down the big hill I began to tuck in and try to go fast when a gust nearly blew me over. My hot new Edge 68mm wheels are so fast but they're kind of scary in gusty crosswinds. Those things sure roll nice though - and they sound so cool! Can't wait to race them at Joe Martin this week :)
I decided to skip the criterium in La Crosse so I could stay at home and do some work around the house. I think I've either got a bit of a cold or some allergies and was pretty congested following Saturday's race. I'm trying to take it easy and feel better before I leave for Joe Martin on Wednesday.
In other bicycle related news Wisconsin had the first Bicycle Summit at the State Capital this past week. All of us from Planet Bike were there (in addition to 450 cycling supporters!) to lobby our legislators to increase funding for bicycle related transportation initiatives and to fight for Complete Streets. We were also asking for legislators to pass the "dooring" law. This requires motorists to check behind them for cyclists before opening their door when parked on the street. It makes sense to look for a car before you open your door - looking for a cyclist shouldn't be any different. We were happy to hear that law was passed later in the day and it was very interesting to meet with the staffers and be a part of the legislative process. And our State Capital is so beautiful it was fun to hang out in there for part of the day.
Here I am as we all got on our bikes and rode up to the Capital. Thanks to coworker James for the photos.
Just a few more days at home before I head down to Arkansas. I can't wait to do my first stage race of the year. Three years ago I headed down to Fayetteville with my ISCorp teammates and Joe Martin was the first NRC race and the first stage race I ever did. I loved it and it fueled my motivation to do more. I love coming back for this race every year and this year the field is stacked. I'm also really looking forward to staying with our hosts from last year Marion and Carolyn. They're so wonderful and it's always fun to catch up with people from year to year! I'll try to update during the race so check back for some photos and posts! Thanks for reading!