Sunday, July 6, 2014

Women's Race Report - Stampede RR

Sarah and Emily with some of the Crave team.
We had three STC ladies out for the Stampede Road Race today – Sarah, Andrea and me. After a great pre-ride with Marie on Friday, we were armed with some race tactics and were ready to go after a good warm up.

The guys ready to head out!
All Masters Women and the Master Men’s D and E started together, the last group to be sent off. After a few hundred of meters behind the neutral car, we were off on a downhill with a decent climb on the other side. Sarah, Andrea and I were together at the start in the first third of the pack, but were split up during the ascent, where hill climber Sarah was able to stick with the lead group and I ended up at the front of the second small group. The rest of the riders were strung out, but Andrea was still behind me, as was one of the Crave girls and a couple of guys who eventually pulled past us. The three of us agreed to work together to try and catch the lead group and it worked well – by the first corner we were about 100 meters away…and then they attacked on the corner and were off again! We rounded the corner on to the nice, new asphalt and continued to work as a group, but it just wasn’t happening for Andrea and the Crave girl, so I pulled off with the intent to try and TT it to the lead pack. As before, I was within 100 meters when they hit the next corner and attacked, and I suddenly seemed to lose 150 meters!

I rounded the corner and, as I was cresting the small incline, saw the wheel car pull over. As I passed, I see ‘good luck’ Sarah with her Betty White face on frantically changing her wheel while yelling about some guy that didn’t hold his line and broke her spoke. Not one to leave a teammate behind, I slowed and waited for her. By the time she got on, a group of seven (or five, I only remember it was an odd number) Crave girls caught up and we formed a nice group.

Harley came out to cheer in his wicked 2009 Team Champions STC kit!
Marie warned us on Friday that there will be exciting women's races, where there are attacks and lots of action, and there will be races where the ladies don’t do much. This one was a race where nothing much happened for the majority of it. Sarah and I tried to lead off with two Crave girls, but one of them laid it out for us, saying that most of the Crave ladies were doing their first race and they would be sticking together. Ultimately, Sarah and I decided it was better to stay with the pack and work together than try and lead out with just the two of us. In retrospect, I really think Sarah and I could have done it, but regardless, working with the Crave girls allowed us to have a good amount of fight left for the finish.

We rounded the final corner with about 6 km to go. The finish was a downhill then a steep uphill that levels out for 150 meters or so before the finish line. I told Sarah that I’d get in front and slow the girls down, and let her come around and push up the hill. We were all silent as we hit the final 1 kilometer, but my timing was perfect and about halfway down the hill I got in front of the pack and slowed right down. Sarah powered around the right, but two of the stronger Crave girls saw what was happening and passed on the left. It was a close fight up the hill and I lost sight as I was in the midst of my own battle with two other Crave girls. As we rolled up the hill, one passed me and the second girl was just pulling even with me when we crested the hill. I thought I had nothing left, but I found one more match, and lit it in the final 75 meters, pounding it out and finishing inches (Harley said about six) in front of the other two girls.
Men's Master B peloton hard at work.
In the end, Sarah finished with fourth and I finished fifth. Although Andrea bonked early in the race, she toughed it out and finished strong. It was great fun and a super supportive environment, and a fantastic day for a good ride. I think each of us learned something about ourselves – never give up, and you always have something left! We all hope to see some ladies out at Rundle Mountain and at future races. We will be a powerful force once we are all working together!


Sarah Foster said...

Great report Emily! Thanks so much for sticking with me today and helping me out. And kudos to Andrea for fighting it out in the wind!

Chuck J said...

Good work women of STC! Congrats to all racers.

Rob Crooks said...

Great summary Emily & I echo Chuck's congrats.

Ken Erdman said...

Emily, I really enjoyed your detailed story and it was so interesting - I read it twice. Being in that group yesterday was fun; and you, Sarah, and Andrea did a great job. I heard Sarah describing her broken spoke at the finish, and am glad she kept her cool when that dude clipped her. Thanks for taking the time to write up your race.

Jennifer Joss said...

Awesome race report!

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