Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This Post Brought to You By the Number 4

So... it seems that number 4 is lucky for me at the moment.

Meredith and I headed down to the MABRA Criterium Championships in Frederick a couple of weekends back.  First of all, it was so nice to see the southern gals again after a season of racing up here in the north.  The women of ABRT are so strong and so lovely - I just have the best time racing and hanging with them.  And, the field down there was such a nice size - with the 1/2 and 3 race on course at the same time, we had over 30 women vying for the win.

Meredith and I had a good plan - we knew who to watch and we knew what we wanted to do.  We launched a few attacks, we covered moves off the front, and then... when nothing seemed likely to stick, we found good wheels for the finish.

ABRT was, of course, highly active throughout the race... particularly attentive to NCVC rider Alexis Zink and a few others.  With about 2 to go, ABRT began to string it out and I moved onto the very familiar wheel of BChan!  Following her through the final corner right at the front, I heard a crash behind and just gunned it for the line.  I ended up crossing in 4th and was really happy with that!

This past weekend, I went out to the Oldmans Time Trial in South Jersey.  With my modified Amira and my Zipp wheels, I was feeling pretty fast and managed to finish 2nd to Lauren Dags in the Women's Open.  

Then, we headed up to Basking Ridge for the NJ State Crit Championships.  The course was... strange.  It's a big oval with a screaming descent and a big ring hill.  Things were going ok for the first 20 minutes or so, and then we had a rather nasty crash in our race.  It was on the downhill section, so speeds were high.  I was near the front, so I have no idea how it happened, just that I heard it and could tell that it was a hard crash.  In the end, four riders went off to hospital and while all are ok - they have some major healing to do.  I hope that all of them heal up fast and well... gentle hugs and lots of love, ladies!

After some hemming and hawing, we decided to restart the race with a truncated distance and a smaller field.  It was so hard to get the legs back in the game, not to mention my brain - which was pretty distracted.  But, we did and with 1.5 to go, Masha attacked and got a bit of a gap.  Emily Spence, Lauren, Amy Cutler and I chased and with about .5 lap to go, Amy jumped to finish closing the gap.  She caught Masha before the line, and I came in just behind Lauren for 4th.  

Up next, the girls head to the Tour de Fish in big numbers!  This race is fantastically fun, technical, and fast.  CAWES is helping to support the race by providing merchandise and dollar prizes for the women's race.  Come on out, race it, watch it, drink some beer, have some fun - BIKES!!

Finding Our Legs at Fitchburg

A couple of weekends ago, a few of the ladies (Meredith, Beth, and Sarah) went up to Massachusetts to race in the always awesome Fitchburg Longsjo Classic.  Years ago, this race was a several day stage race that included a crit, circuit, and road race.  Sarah gives a report of this on her blog (from her much younger years!) here and here.   

This year, it was a series of three criterium races.  Each one had it's own particular peculiarities - lots of corners, crunchy road surfaces, rain.  But, each was fun and fast.

With a stacked field of racers, we went in with the goal of racing hard, aggressive, and safe, and working on our finishes in terms of positioning and sprinting.  It was going to be a tough weekend, but we were excited.  Plus, we got to stay at a Goat Farm, so... there was that!!

 Our amazing home for the weekend...
And the local residents...

 Sarah walking a goat...
 Beth walking a llama!
Recovery was the name of the game between races.  Thanks to NormaTec for making these amazing "Space Legs!"  We LOVE them.

Now, about the racing.  The events were really great and the gals felt fantastic in the fields.  Before the first event we overheard, "It's going to be tough, those CAWES girls are here."  That felt pretty good.  And, we did our best to make it tough.

The first race went well with us launching a few attacks and trying to go with moves off the front.  As expected, though, things generally stayed together.  With a late race attack from Zimmer Capital's Beth Ruiz, Sarah chased it down and still managed to finish 11th on the day with Meredith in 15th and Beth in 18th.

Day 2 was highly technical with some rough roads.  But, the girls kept it strung out and hard through the rough areas and with a lot of attacking, it was another fun race.  Sarah improved on her previous day's race with a strong 9th place finish.  Meredith and Beth raced strong and hard - launching attacks and chasing breaks to finish 14th and 25th.

The last day was the traditional downtown Fitchburg criterium... this awesome photo by Ashley Green appeared on the cover of the local paper the day after our race.  You can see some lime green just to the left of the center of the pack!

Another tough race found the girls positioning themselves well at the end to finish 9th, 10th, and 20th.

All in all, we felt that the weekend was a great chance to race hard for three days straight.  We can't wait to come back next year for the races AND for the amazing hospitality at Goat Ridge Farm!  :)