The race: 40 mile race (4 laps of a 10 mile course)
The field: Cat 1/2 mixed with Cat 3 gave us a field of about 40 women. Some big names included Laura Cook of Vanderkitten, the Fruit 66 team, and, of course, US (hehe)! :)
CAWES riders: Chicken, Goat, Badger, Jencheng, Mitch, Ieps, and Grizzy (grrrrr)
Weather: It started out a bit chilly, with temps hovering around 40 and the clouds refusing to let the sun shine. As we started out on the course, it got worse as the rain began to fall. It made for a rather wet and COLD race. Brrrrr....
Course: The course is GREAT! I can totally understand why so many women like to do this race. Constantly rolling, the hills are mostly big-ring power climbs (at least for me they were!), and the downhill sections are FAST and curvy (I LOVED it). There are definitely a few places to jump and attack and lots of nice sitting in to be done.
Pre-Race: I think I will just let a few videos speak for themselves...
The Race: We wanted to do a lot in this race, as a team. We wanted to race aggressively and attack when we could. But, we also wanted to race smart and try to come to the finish with either a rider or two in the break, or a few riders in the field in order to lead Mitch out for the sprint.
We did a lot of attacking - Sonja went off the front more than once, as did Jen, Alaina and I. Mitch came to the front and launched at least one strong attack, but her primary goal was to be there and ready for the sprint. None of the attacks were successful as most people just didn't really have the snap in the legs yet to pull clear of the field...most of the attacks just put the hurt on a bit and made the field react. All in all, it was successful.
Coming into the finish, Alaina and I tried to keep the pace high and avoid attacks...sitting on the front to make sure that Mitch was ready to kick some tail. About 500 meters from the finish, there was a crash. Alaina and Mitch were in front of it and made it to the finish line with the pack. I was just to the left of it and was pushed off the road onto the grass. I managed to stay upright and get back onto the road, but lost 20 seconds on the field. Sonja and Chicken were also behind it, but we all managed to get through relatively unscathed.
At the line, Mitch crossed in 3rd place with Alaina in 7th. With the rest of us trickling in post-crash, we managed to have 5 riders in the top 10! Woo hoo!
All in all, it was a great day for CAWES!