Race Recap: Saint Francis Tulsa Tough (Women’s P12)

Words by: Sam and Skylar Schneider (ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI)

Introduction: Friday night in Tulsa was hot and hectic. Our sock sponsor, Ten Speed Hero, came down from Chicago to experience the race with us, first hand. Our team, ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI started Tulsa Tough with six girls (of about 70 total starters) and went into the weekend looking for podiums and pandas. (Sam)

Friday Night: The race was fast, with lots of attacks coming from Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good. The hour crit had eight corners in the shape of a figure 8, which made it technical and single file for most of the night. We were represented in the breakaways, but nothing was going to stay away the first night. In the closing laps, there were multiple crashes and unfortunately three of our girls got taken out. Although we were together safe on the front (or so we thought), it didn’t stop a rider from cutting across the front of our wheel and instantly take down the front of the field (ouch!).

That is bike racing, but lucky for us we still had our teammate, Nicolle Bruderer, represent us on the podium for 2nd place; which was her very first NCC podium! Tulsa on Friday night had fireworks and the whole shebang. (Sam)

Saturday: Six corner course with a little hill that had a tremendous party and loud music kept things interesting. Lot of attacking, again, and eventually a move with about six riders including me gave it a go. The move lasted five laps and counter attacks came full force. Luckily for me, my team was ready and I could recover for the next move, the finish.

With about four laps to go, a storm was fast approaching, strong winds and dark skies filled Tulsa and all I could do was hope there were no tornadoes (Fun fact: I am seriously afraid of tornadoes). Last lap was chaotic, but I had a lot of confidence in my team that we could make the top step this time around. Coming around the last corner there was no time for hesitation; I sprinted for the win. There was lots of happiness all around with such an amazing amount of teamwork being paid off with champagne and a big Tulsa panda bear. (Sam)Brady-District-70

Sunday: Two days of racing done and the iconic Cry Baby Hill awaited us. We pre-rode a lap as a team and as soon as our wheels hit the hill, we could hear the electrifying base and cheers of all the party-goers. With so much craziness going on it was impossible not to just laugh and soak it all in. The race started with a promising sunny sky and 70 women ready to race their hearts out, after all #TakeMondayOff.

The race was fast and furious- girls were dropping chains on the hill, attempting to take beer handouts, and all sorts of mayhem proved that Cry Baby Hill would live up to its name yet again. With 10 laps to go the skies opened up on the back side of the course and it was pouring so hard you could hardly see the wheel in front of you. Then, rounding back to Cry Baby Hill and no rain. It was as if the hill had its very own umbrella to protect its partiers from getting rained on (lucky them!).

The race was delayed for 30 minutes and the clouds left just as fast as they had come. With nerves high and the pressure on, it was clear everyone wanted the race to stay fast. On the last lap every team had at least one rider towards the front trying to escape for one last time. Coming down to the last turn- Sam was first with Friday night’s winner Erica Allar (Colavita/Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking) right behind her.

The sprint was a nail bitter to the end, and Erica won by half an inch. (Skylar)10980729_627752377371306_6335938578341683812_n

Conclusion: Tulsa Tough is hands-down one of the best-run races in the world. Walking around Tulsa people of all sorts were asking us “are you here for that bike race?” That is an example of the impeccable job the Tulsa Tough crew did at spreading the word.

A huge THANK YOU to the Tulsa AWE group for raising money to give a travel stipend to the professional women’s teams which made it that much more possible to attend these incredible races. ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI made lots of memories at this race and we definitely plan to be back next year. (Skylar)

Sam Schneider lives in Milwaukee, WI. Skylay Schneider lives in West Allis, WI.

Race Recap: Saint Francis Tulsa Tough (Women’s P12)

Words by Marissa Axell (Metromint Cycling pb The Freewheel)
6/11/15 – Travel to Tulsa, OK Axell4
After a 4am wake up call, and two short flights on Southwest Airlines, my husband Anthony and I arrived in Tulsa, OK with our bikes in tow. This was the first travel for my new steed, and I admit to a bit of separation anxiety until we were reunited. We arrived at our amazing host’s house in the Maple Park district, near downtown Tulsa.
 One of the reasons I love Tulsa Tough is the close proximity of each race, logistics are a breeze. I look forward to settle in with our host housing, and ride my bike along one of the dozens of miles of bike paths around Tulsa. The midlands bike paths take you within a few blocks of each of the three criterium race sites. After reassembling my bike (nary a scratch on her), we take off for an hour spin to clear out the travel cobwebs. We trace the bike paths toward the Arkansas river, stopping first for some extra air in our tires at Lee’s Bicycles before back tracking down and across the 21st street bridge to follow the Midland pathways south toward Turkey Mountain Urban Park. The air is so humid, we are practically swimming in sweat. It’s warm and lovely afternoon without another person on the paths.
 6/12/15 – Blue Dome Criterium
The next day, we head out for an early morning spin, this time ready to shake out any nerves and warm up ahead of the Friday afternoon race. The rest of the day was spent on the porch or in the air conditioning, relaxing and focusing on the Blue Dome Criterium, race time 7:55pm. The entire town of Tulsa begins to show up with friends and brews, and line the course to cheer. With the multitudes of bars in the area, everyone is loud and having fun, with minimal impact between crowd and racers, thanks to the AMAZING volunteers working their stations along the course on Friday evening. After a minimal “warm up” (are you kidding, it’s 90degrees and 100% humidity – who needs to warm up?) we toe the line and get going. The speeds were very fast, the course is extremely technical figure 8 with a very mild hill in the middle, making for some leg burning uphill and eyeball screaming downhills. I managed to muscle into the first real breakaway of the day, but after we were caught I focused on staying as forward as possible. Unfortunately a few very late crashes occurred, but I stayed clear and went on to sprint in for 16th of 72 starters, a great result for me at this National Criterium Calendar (NCC) race.
After a slow cool down lap, I found Anthony and celebrated my finish with some hugs and high fives with our host family before rolling slowly back home via bike pathways.
6/13/15 – Brady Arts District Criterium
Saturday morning, we woke to steamy weather again, and after a short spin, we got dressed and visited Tulsa’s Woody Guthrie Museum, home to Guthrie’s instruments, recordings, manuscripts, journals, and photos of Woody Guthrie, who got his “this land is your land, this land is my land” start in Oklahoma. This is a solid museum and a nice way to gain some culture at your bike race (just $8 and almost worth it for the air conditioning alone)! Race time at 6:50pm, temps hovering around 90-95 with 100% humidity again. The course features a longer incline, traversing directly of the famous SoundPony bar and Cains Ballroom, both are Tulsa institutions, and worth a visit.
The racing was extremely fast, with many racers shelled  within the first lap. Occasionally, when my legs were screaming, I would deign to look at our speed (going up hill), and think ralize “OH, 25mph, that’s why it hurts!” Towards the top of the hill, nearest Soundpony, saw crowds 6-10 people deep on either side of the road, all shouting and ringing cowbells or vuvuzelas, nearly sounding like “crybaby hill” of River Parks Crit fame. As the laps wore on during the hour long crit, the primes were hotly contested, and everyone tried to move up and into a better position for the finish. With 15 minutes to go, the blackish purple clouds were descending upon us very fast, sending gales of wind into the peloton, skittering some of us sideways with abandon. I hoped the clouds would hold back their rain until we were done! Within 10 minutes after the finish, the heavens opened up and sheets of rain dumped down, sending the men’s field for cover as they would have to wait 30 minutes for their rain delay. On the ride back home, we witness a spectacular array of rainbows and sunsets, like straight out of “the Wizard of Oz!”
6/14/15 – Cry Baby Hill aka The River Parks Criterium
Sunday weather fared no better than Saturday. By the time 3pm rolled around, several rain bands had passed over the course, but the roads were mostly dry. In my four year career at Tulsa Tough, I’ve never lasted more than 4 or 6 laps of this very tough crit course. I planned to ride each lap as if it were my last and give it my all.
We take off up the first part of the hill, make the right turn onto “Cry Baby Hill” and into the loudest and deepest wall of noise, it nearly takes your breath away. The feeling is indescribable, only to say there is no. other. race. like it (in the US anyway). With the peloton down the hill and around to the straightaway again, and I’m still with the peloton! In fact, 5 laps later, I’m still with the peloton when about 10 women went down like dominoes just in front of me, and to the pit we go. We get our free lap, and we’re back into the race. Soon, I heard the “worlds largest crowd prime” announced, and we are racing for $2,500! Another cool Tulsa tidbit: this prime was collected by the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough Divas, a group of ultra tough Tulsa cyclists who band together to get more women on bikes! These fantastic women comb the crowds for the prior two days to put together the largest “crowd prime” of all time. The speed of that lap was my fastest lap of the day, and the CBH crowds were even louder; the drum beats thumping, the bands playing, the beer and water everywhere, and what crazy fun to watch a Colombian racer win that prime!
Not 10 minutes later, again, the heavens dumped hail/rain and torrential wind upon the peloton and the race was stopped for 30 minutes. Loud booming thunder and scary snakes of lightening all around us as we sought “cover.” After 30 minutes, and completely cooling down, we were once again on the start line, and off for the final 10 laps. Unfortunately 30 minutes was too much for my legs, they quit pushing me up that hill, and my day was done 3 laps later. Gut crushing efforts up and into that roaring crowd every lap is the stuff memories are made of. After being pulled from the race, it’s almost required to head up to the hill one more time, to say thank you to the crowd, hand out high fives, and take a cheap and cold beer hand up. This is the stuff Tulsa Tough is made of. After 3 races, I landed in 28th in the Omnium (of 72 starters), and created lasting memories of another epic Cry Baby Hill.  Until next year, Tulsa!
Marissa Axell is a Personal Trainer and Endurance Athletics Coach.
She lives in Oakland, CA.

Sho-Air/Cannondale’s Evelyn Dong Wins GoPro Games XC!

Sho-Air/Cannondale’s Evelyn Dong Wins GoPro Games XC!

 

Huntington Beach, Calif.—May 8, 2015—

 

Sho-Air/Cannondale’s Evelyn Dong won the women’s The GoPro Games Cross Country Mtb Race this past weekend in Vail, Colorado. Teammates Keegan Swenson (second, men’s pro), Alex Grant (third, men’s pro) and Larissa Connors (fourth, women’s pro) ensured Ridebiker and Sho-Air/Cannondale athletes were hard to miss on the podium!

 

A light drizzle greeted the field prior to the race but when it came time for the call up, it had cleared up to a near-perfect day for a race.

 

“When Larry Grossman sent the pro women off with a countdown, I started cautiously,” said Dong. “Not wanting to blow up on a course that topped out at 8700 feet, I sat behind either Erin (Huck, Scott 3 Rox) or Georgia (Gould, Luna Pro Team) for most of the first lap. I put in a little dig at the top, getting a small gap going into the descent, which I promptly blew by sliding out on some greasy mud.” She recovered and caught up to Huck. “Lap three was go time. I knew I had to get a gap on Erin before the descent, and I was still feeling pretty good. I just gradually picked up the pace. My [Cannondale] F29 hardtail feels great climbing and Vail’s long climb lends itself well to steady, out of the saddle efforts, so I had no excuses. By that time, the descent had dried out so I rallied back down. No crashes, no mechanicals and magic legs – it made for a fairytale day!”

 

Teammate Larissa Connors had a rougher time of it, bringing a head cold into a wet warmup prior to the race. “The first climb hurt my lungs and throat so much I wanted to drop out after the first lap. But then the descent happened! Bermed turns, some jumps, tacky dirt and aspen tree slaloms was all the convincing I needed to suffer through that climb two more times. It hurt like heck, my lungs and throat are killing me, but finishing fourth was pretty sweet!”

 

In the men’s race, Keegan Swenson put in a strong performance to finish second behind winner Howard Grotts (Specialized Factory Racing). “After the first lap, Howard was off the front by a little ways and I was trying to bring him back on the down. I eventually caught him about half way down, only to get popped off again at the bottom of the climb going into the second lap. I sat up and waited for Todd [Wells, Specialized Factory Racing] and Fernando [Paez, Raleigh-Clement] who were back just a few seconds and rode the second lap with them. By then, the course had gotten quite dry and was ripping fast! Going into the last lap I could see Alex coming from a ways back so I decided to give it a little gas on the beginning of the climb to try and drop Fernanado and Todd, as well as try and hold off Alex. I was able to shake Todd and Fernanado but Alex was able to diesel his way back up to me near the top of the climb. On the last short climb before the finish, I gave it a good dig and was able to make a small gap between Alex and I. Luckily, I was able to hold him off till the finish! Pretty awesome to have us two Utah boys up on the podium!”

 

Ridebiker Alliance’s Alex Grant was coming off of a major win the prior weekend in Grand Junction. “I thought I might not be totally fresh but at the same time, my form must be pretty good, so I was ready to go. This is my fourth time at this race and it’s always a great event. Lucky for us the rain stopped, but I don’t think anyone was ready for the grease we found on sections of the upper trail. Once it hit downhill it was like ice in spots! It took me down while I was in fifth just behind Wells and I spent the next lap and a half chasing back on. By that time, Howard was long gone. Keegan and I locked up in a battle for second, which he took by five seconds.”

 

——-Additional information———

GoPro Games Mountain Bike XC Results:

Women:

1.     Evelyn Dong (Sho-Air/Cannondale)                                               1:59:41.4

2.     Erin Huck (Scott-3 Rox)                                                                           2:01:04.4

3.     Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)                                                                        2:02:36.0

4.     Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance)                                          2:04:10.1

5.     Amy Beisel (Liv / Giant)                                                       2:05:19.4

Men:

1.     Howard Grotts (Specialized Factory Racing)                          1:40:21.0

2.     Keegan Swenson (Sho-Air/Cannondale)                                                      1:42:03.4

3.     Alex Grant (Ridebiker Alliance)                                                       1:42:08.2

4.     Hector Fernando (Raleigh-Clement)                                            1:43:45.3

5.     Ben Sonntag (Team Clif Bar)                                                               1:44:27:0

 

TORRENCE CRITERIUM: MCCULLOCH WINS WOMEN’S EVENT!

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Photo Credit: Angel Castillo

By Joy McCulloch (KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo)

The Torrence Criterium is tough! The wind whips around the 6-turn course and makes the final sprint one that torpedoes straight into the block-headwind. Another factor that makes this event so challenging is the smaller field size. With literally nowhere to hide, the racers are on the pedals for the duration of the race, making a breakaway inevitable in our field.

As we lined up, I was excited to see several strong solo competitors from Jet Cycling and Professional teams BMW Happy Tooth and Tibco, as well as a talented assortment of LaGrange, SBW and other local athletes. I knew the race would be aggressive from the start, so I chose to hang back ever so slightly and take notes on who was going to animate the race and try and make things exciting.

Within the first 15 minutes, the field had broken into two pieces, and I had placed myself in the front group of 6 that would ultimately take it to the line for a sprint finish. Having won on this course in 2013 and finishing 3rd in 2014, I had a list of mental notes on what to do. And more importantly, what NOT to do. As the break was nearing the finishing laps, riders began attacking. I knew that if a strong rider or two got a gap going into the long tailwind section on the backside, they could easily gain enough traction to stay away to the finish. I did not want that to happen, so I committed to either being on the wheel of the attack or pulling the move back and waiting for the next attack.

The breakaway was comprised of very strong riders and I knew that some of them were crafty enough to launch an attack in the last lap in an attempt to get away solo into the headwind finish.
Luckily for me, the attack went at the start finish and I was able to jump on Michelle from BMW/Happy Tooth through the quick left hander before she got too far. As the pace picked up, I wanted to be 3rd wheel and 2nd position would be even better. I knew I would need to be patient coming into the last two turns and that holding my spot was imperative to solidifying the win.

With 2 turns to go, we whipped through the wind from the tailwind section directly into the wind in the short section before the final turn. I hunkered down as much as I could, knowing we were about to turn right on the long finishing straight. As we made the turn, the wind came even stronger across my left shoulder and I knew that the path to victory was up the right gutter, slightly buffered from severity of the wind.
My coach and team director Paul Abrahams was on the final turn and I heard him yelling, so I just went for it! That was one LONG sprint! But he didn’t actually say “GO”. Things do get lost in translation, especially with howling wind. Initiating the move was better than waiting and being on the defensive, so it all worked out. Thankfully, I was able to get a gap on the breakaway with my initial jump and hold it to the finish line with a bike throw.

I am always thankful for a chance to race my bike, to practice tactics and have the opportunity to be mindful about how I race my bicycle. Thank you to the Peninsula Cycling Club for putting on the Torrence Criterium, and especially thank you for offering junior women’s races, a women’s 3/4 event as well as the women’s 1/2/3. And thank you for the solid prize purse as well!

 

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©Danny Munson

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

Facebook: KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo

Twitter: @iPA_Sports

Race Report: Golden State Race Series- Crit (Women’s P123)

Words by Marissa Axell (Metromint Cycling p/b The Freewheel)

Golden State Race Series in Rancho Cordova, CA is a wonderful and well supported event thanks to the tireless efforts of the Rio Strada racing team. The course features 2.3 miles of flat, nearly flawless pavement, endless corners, and wind, lots of wind.
The Women 1-2-3 and the Master Women’s 1-2-3 categories raced together. The previous day saw Tina Hughes (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing)  and Amanda Seigle (Jakroo Racing Team) take first and second respectively, and I knew they were leading the omnium going into Sunday’s circuit race.
The day was warm, but cooler than the prior day, and the winds picked up steadily throughout the day. Nearly 30 women toed the start line, where we were given directions, and informed that the opening laps would be two back-to-back prime laps.
The whistle blew and we were off on our 60 minute circuit race. After the first prime, the pace picked up as a counter attack of Hanna Muegge (Mikes Bikes) and Mary Ellen Ash (Metromint Cycling p/b the Freewheel) contested the second prime. The two stayed off the front until Aliya Triafacante (amain.com) had enough and brought them back. I counter attacked and took a few others with me, but it was quickly shut down again.
One lap later, the pace lulled substantially, and I peered around me to see many tired faces so I decided I should attack right then, in the open cross/headwind section because I could feel the peloton was tired. So 20 minutes into the 60 minute race I attacked again and after a minute of a solid effort, I looked back to see a substantial gap. I promised myself that I would work hard for the next two minutes to see what would happen, and then make a decision. I quickly garnered 20 and then 30 seconds on the field. After doing the mental tally I put all my chips on the table, I was all in.
After cursing myself for setting up a 35 minute time trial, I settled into a rhythm on each section depending on the wind conditions. Over the next 35 minutes, the gap opened to 40sec, then back down to 17, then back up to 30 seconds. The final 3 laps I knew I could win, and this gave me the extra energy needed to stay off the front. I crossed the finish with both hands in the air and a goofy smile on my face, about 20 seconds ahead of the chasing peloton.
Thanks to my awesome Metromint Cycling p/b The Freewheel teammates of Mary Ellen Ash, Kerry Stivaletti, and Ann Stuart for helping Metromint to the win with their work in the peloton to keep me out front.   Congrats to Tina Hughes (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing), Amanda Siegle (Jackroo Racing) and Aliya Trifacante (amain.com) for going 1-2-3 in the Golden State Omnium. Thank you to NCNCA Women committee and Women’s Series for going all out and supporting the series of races with prizes and encouraging more and more women to race.
Marissa Axell lives in Oakland, CA.

Race Reports: Barrio Logan and Dana Point Grand Prix (Women’s P12)

Words by: Gretchen Stumhofer (SPY Giant RIDE p/b GQ6)

Last Thursday I took Step 1, the first of three licensing exams taken during medical school. It’s a right of passage in medicine and it covers an unimaginable amount of material. To say the least, the last few months have been epically challenging off of the bike (thank goodness I had my bike to keep me sane). So, on Friday after finishing my exam I went down to the Velodrome to hang out with friends, celebrate being done, and do some Friday night racing—because what better way to prepare for a weekend of more races?

Barrio Logan

Saturday morning was rough but thankfully the Women’s P1/2/3 race at the 19th Annual Barrio Logan Grand Prix wasn’t until the afternoon. I’d never done this race before and didn’t know much about it other than that it’s right next to one of the coolest places in all of San Diego, Chicano Park (check it out if you haven’t been). After a short warm-up, some course recon with teammates, and a quick team meeting, the race was underway. Following an early prime, a break with teammate Pam and two of the Monster Media ladies went off. When a couple of others went to chase down the break I followed. Shortly after, teammates Jenny and Angelica, bridged with another group. On the next lap another prime was called. Rounding the last corner near the front I decided to go for it. I took the prime and when I looked back saw that no one was particularly close. I decided to go. It was certainly a risk riding off the front and attempting to hold it for 25 minutes but I felt confident knowing that I had all of my teammates working for me. The next few laps were painful, but from my experience as a rower it’s the kind of lactate threshold workout I know and love. I was able to hold the solo break, lap the field on the final straightaway, and take the win in this awesome hometown race! Super big thanks to the Cat 3/4 men for donating some of their winnings and SPY for putting in a little extra cash and making efforts towards equal payouts and equality in cycling—these kind of gestures are what make me proud to be part of this cycling community.

 Dana Point

On Sunday morning instead of driving south, it was north to the Dana Point Grand Prix. This race is really well put on, supports a great cause, and is in one of the coolest beach communities in Southern California. But it also comes with all of the intimidation factors: it’s fast, it’s known for its crashes, and this year it was an NCC race with $12,000 in prizes. Some of the big teams with the big-time crit racers from all around the country and even a couple of international Olympians turned out. As my first NCC race, and with very little crit experience outside of collegiate races in small fields, my main goal was just to stay upright and off the cement. To me it seems like the best way to achieve this goal is to ride near the front at all times–sometimes easier said than done, but the backside of this course had some good spots to work your way back up though the washing machine. Staying near the front, I tried to follow anything that looked like a break. Nothing was sticking though, and it became pretty obvious that the race was going to come down to a field sprint. By 2 laps to go I was feeling pretty comfortable and sitting 3rd wheel. In the last lap things got a little more hectic. It did my best to maintain my position, and though I was able to stay within the front 10 I did lose a little more speed than I would have liked in the final corner. In the end I sprinted into 6th. More than stoked about this result and to be in the top 10 at a race like this! Pam came in right after in 9th and Jen not far behind in 18th.

All in all it was another great weekend for the SPY women’s team, a team I feel incredibly lucky to be part of. Being pretty new to racing, I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much from my teammates, each of whom with their own distinct strengths and who collectively have shared an invaluable wealth of knowledge and experience with me this year. Did I mention that every single member of our team has been on a podium this season too? Yup, my team is awesome!

Gretchen Stumhofer lives in San Diego, CA.

Eleven Things To Know About Being A Cyclist’s Wife:

Eleven Things To Know About Being A Cyclist’s Wife: By Christina Barton

 

I have been a cyclist’s wife (and girlfriend) for nearly six years now. I have come a long way since the days when I didn’t think cycling was a team sport and these are the things I have learned to be the best cyclist’s wife I can be:

 

  • When you arrive at a road race be ready to be in the feed zone for 4 hours in the blazing hot sun to hand off 2 bottles that will most likely be dropped.

 

  • Never take Dave Santos seriously when he says to motor pace a teammate back to the group during the race. This is not only illegal, but I would probably hit a few riders in an attempt to do this.

 

  • Keep reminding your husband that shaved legs and spandex are sexy.

 

  • If you are in the pit during a criterium, it is important to stop looking at Pinterest on your phone to hand a rider on your team a wheel when he gets a flat. They do not like it when they have to wait for you to pin the article on how to make cookies in a microwave.

 

  • Be willing to give up your car to the team director at any moment because when he is in race mode that man can be scary as hell! Disclaimer: Paul Abrahams is actually the nicest guy in the world.

 

  • Try not to be jealous of the podium girls when they are kissing your husband after he wins.

 

  • Listen to your husband talk about everything that happened in the race and pretend to understand all of the lingo — He was riding 27s? No way! (Is that a thing?)

 

  • If a rider crashes during a race and is bleeding from his head, do not stand in the way crying and saying to yourself you did this with your mind because he is on a different team.

 

  • Keep other wives posted on what’s going on during the race if they are unable to make it, unless their husband is not doing well.

 

  • Pretend it’s not the millionth time someone at the race asks you, “Oh, so you ride bikes too?” To answer this question-No, I do not also ride. I believe my husband rides enough for the both of us!

 

  • Be understanding when he cannot text you 3 seconds after the race is over to tell you the results.

 

  • And the most important thing you can do as a cyclist’s wife is to be supportive. I am so proud of my husband and I think what he does it not only cool, but takes so much discipline and I really respect that.
Photo Credit: Michael Ratcliff, Action Media LLC

Christina’s Husband Chris Barton: Photo Credit: Michael Ratcliff, Action Media LLC

Race Report: Wente Vineyards Classic Road Race (Women’s P123)

IMG_6838-X3Words by: Leah Thomas (Metromint Cycling p/b The Freewheel)

Wente Road Race has always been a Norcal classic.  It seems to offer a little bit of everything: a steep climb, rollers, fast descents, narrow roads, and wind.  I had never raced Wente before, but always held it as an iconic race in my mind.  Our race was to be 62 miles, which meant four complete laps but five times up the steep finishing climb, Carroll Road.

Race day featured beautiful weather with only a moderate amount of wind.  Due to the Joe Martin Stage Race and the Sequoia Classic (a new crit in the area offering equal prize money for men and women), Wente’s eleven-woman P/1/2 field was smaller than normal.  The teams were fairly evenly divided: three from Metromint Cycling p/b The Freewheel, two from Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees, two from Zoca p/b Halo Spots, two from Folsom Bike/Trek, and a handful of individual riders.

The race started out at a fairly fast clip, as my teammate Stephanie Hines pulled hard up the first climb on Carroll Road.  I had been sitting on her wheel, but I eased up as we turned onto Flynn.  As Stephanie pulled away, Diane Moug of Folsom Bikes bridged to join her.  Just when the pack was reeling them back in, my teammate Joanna Dahl attacked, and despite efforts from Folsom and Zoca to close the gap, Joanna stayed away and managed to open her lead to 85 seconds going into the third lap.

Having a teammate off the front is wonderful: I sat in and let the other girls work around me.  However, despite Joanna being off the front, at the base of Caroll on the third lap, I attacked.

Uncertain if the girls were going to try to put together a string of attacks, and feeling less than fresh after hard week of training, I didn’t want to give them the opportunity to drop me by attacking on their own terms.  Furthermore, if I wasn’t in a break to aid Joanna as it caught her, I was unsure if she would be able to accelerate strongly enough to latch on after spending so much time alone in the wind. Diane, along with Zoca’s Bethany Allen, stayed with me up the hill.  As soon as our break was formed, I sat up, forcing Diane and Bethany to decide if they wanted to work to get up to Joanna or let the pack come back together.  They decided to work.

We caught Joanna with a lap and a half to go, and we added her to our break as we passed by.  The break worked well together for the last lap and a half or so, with few attack attempts.  Any excitement was to wait for the final climb.  Joanna put in an attack on Altamont Pass leading up to the final Caroll climb, and was brought back.  I counter-attacked as Joanna was caught, and was also brought back.  I sat up once again, which gave Joanna a moment to catch back up to us and counter once more.  Though Joanna was caught as we turned onto Carol, her efforts would ultimately be the ones that allowed me to win the race.

The final climb was a strong hard effort, and as I turned up the power as it flattened out, I began to pull away.  My legs burned over the final 200 meters, and although I had a gap, I could see Bethany behind me sprinting and closing quickly.  The finish line couldn’t come soon enough, and I was able to just eek out Bethany to the line.

All in all, the day was successful, and it felt fantastic to work so well with Joanna to put Metromint atop the podium in such an iconic race.

Leah Thomas lives in Sunnyvale, CA. 

Kirchmann (Optum) Wins Stage Two of Joe Martin Stage Race

Cycling Illustrated

Kirchmann Wins Stage Two of Joe Martin Stage Race
April 25th | Fayetteville, AR
Reigning Canadian road race, time trial, and criterium champion Leah Kirchmann won stage two of the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas yesterday, out-kicking a select group of riders in a tough uphill finish after 94 kilometers of racing. Her win, and its subsequent time bonus, moved the Canadian star into fourth overall on general classification and into the sprint classification lead. She was motivated for the possibilities her biggest win of 2015 on American soil could mean for the weekend of racing in Arkansas.

“I felt really confident in our strength as a team coming into Joe Martin after our victory at team time trial nationals,” she said. “It was definitely a physical and mental boost to race and win the team time trial before heading to Arkansas – I’m feeling strong and today was a great course for us, and the team helped put me in great position on the final climb to the finish. I can’t wait to see what we can do in the overall classification this week!”

Performance Director Patrick McCarty comments on the team’s strategy and tactics that helped make the win possible:

“I knew we could take the win today with Leah, but the strategy was in how to also move her, or one of our other riders, up in the overall standings. The course was hilly at first, with one fairly significant climb halfway through. It was a course you had to pay attention on, and one which could certainly put a lot of pressure on the race. I did not think it was a good day, though, for us to put a big effort into anything other than the finish – the finish was technical and difficult with some steep pitches, and energy needed to be saved for it. It became clear that our best strategy was to be patient, stay out of trouble and put everything into a good finish for Leah. The stage win, time bonus and possible time gaps were our motivation. Leah now sits 4th overall and spitting distance of the podium. The ladies all rode well today. More consistent, solid performances in the rest of this race will lift us further up in the standings.”

The Joe Martin Stage race continues today, with another, more challenging road race, and concludes on Sunday with a classic downtown criterium.