Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reports for Cal Cup 2009 Road Races

Reports for Cal Cup 2009 Road Races

Hello! Hello! This was my first year at racing the Cal Cup and it was a blast! I did only the road races due to my work schedule. Annie Fulton raced all of them with me. Lauren did Dunnigan Hill and covered most of the crits and she did amazing! For a few of these events, we were lucky to have Katheryn racing with us and mentoring us. It is such a great race series. They were very challenging races, mainly at the end of the season! Tough courses, harsh weather condition, and very strong women fields. At the beginning of August, I was in good shape after Cascade Classic, though my legs were for sure fatigue in the last few stages. For the overall Cal Cup: I placed 3rd overall (Women 1-2), Lauren Hecht finished 10th and Annie Fulton 17th.

Patterson Pass Road Race
Women 1-2, Katheryn Curi-Mattis, Annie Fulton, et moi.

The race started at a strong steady pace up the first climb. Katheryn was at the front leading us up the hill and occasionally standing up and doing some acceleration. Mid- way through the hill only a few of us were still with Katheryn and the rest of the group was behind climbing. 2/3 into the hill going to the last steepest section, Katheryn stand up and started accelerating further. None of us could keep up and she dropped us. I watched her going up the final steep portion, hoping that she would slow down and wait for us at the top or regroup on the descent. No way, she was gone and she was going to race the next 66 miles by herself. So, within 5 miles into the race, we had a little break of 5 women (2 Touchstone, 2 Wells Fargo and me) going. Katheryn was up the front and we were chasing. Though, she was out of sight. Mid way through the first lap the peloton caught us, but up Patterson for the second time, our little break reformed. Jane Robertson and Jane Despas rode with us for a while, but flat tires and lack of water made them abandon the race break. Five miles into the last lap, there was Olivia Dilon, Susannah Breen and I in a break, the main peloton was far behind us (like more than 6 minute apparently) and the motorcycle informed us that Katheryn was 3.5 min in front of us. We kept our good pace going. About 3 mile before the finish, Olivia attacked, while Susannah was fishing a gel out of her pocket. I had just taken a long pull up the front in the head wind. I couldn’t accelerate fast enough to get on her wheel. So she went. Susannah and I rode the rest toward the finish. Just before the finishing zigzag, I jumped, took the 2 corners as fast as I could and started the sprint. Total screwed up! I thought the sprint was right there at the first blue tent, but no, it was about 300m away at the last blue tent. Susannah sprinted for the 3rd place and I finished 4th. Yes, I know, next time I will make sure where the finish line exactly is!

Dunningan Hill NO hill
Women 1-2, Lauren Hetch, Annie Fulton et moi.

There were about 30 women in our field. Well Fargo and Touchstone teams were well represented. This race is in Yolo, 30 minutes from my house: so Sweet! I had heard the course would be somewhat flat despite the name for this race. Lol!

Our race start was about 45 minutes delayed. No too long after the neutral start, there were many attacks. No one could get away because of crazy strong omni-directional winds. The pace was fast through the rollers. Lauren, Annie and I took turn to bring back (and help chasing) the attacks. After the first over pass, after many attacks and counter attacks a break succeeded to get away (Stacey Sims and Mary Maroon from Vanderkitten). Lauren, Annie and I formed a pace line and started chasing the break. I then got into a small break after someone in the peloton made an attack. Soon after, while passing by the route to the finish, an official yelled at our small chase group to make a right turn. Which we did, mistakenly. None of us had done the race before. We went up the overpass towards the finish and realized what was going on: while the main field was passing us on the road below, going forward in the right direction. At that point, several girls dropped out. Marley Smith (Whole Food Market Team) and I worked together and time trialed very hard to get back to the main field. The wind was very strong, but we met them back at about 2 miles after the start line. That was a hard effort and I burned many matches there. We continued to roll with the main field. An official notified us that the initial break (Stacey & Mary) had also made the wrong turn and had dropped out of the race. On the last laps the wind was still strong and it was very hot. Water was rare and became a delusion! A few women had mechanicals and flat tires and dropped out. About 5 miles before the second feed zone there was a few attacks and a group of 4 women got away (Olivia Dillon, Heather Pryor, Jane Robertson, Jane Despas and Amy Chandos). I made it with this lead group initially, but got dropped with 2 others (Marley, Laurel green (Bici)). We pacelined spinning so looking forward to see the end of this race: exhausted, overheated and dehydrated. Completely out of water with about 12 miles to go. Laurel flatted a few miles before the finish. There was no other women in sight behind or in front of Marley and I. Within 500 meter of the finish line, i.e. on the uphill of the overpass, I attacked, but she sprinted by me on the downhill sprint. I was worried that this was going to happen! I finished 7th. Lauren and Annie were not too far behind, finishing 13th and 14th.

University Circuit Race
Women1-2, Katheryn Curi-Mattis, Annie Fulton et moi.

It was a 42-mile race on a 3-mile circuit. Basically, a 1.5 mile downhill and 1.5 mile climb, great course! On the 3rd lap of the race, at the beginning of the climb, Allison Stern attacked. Olivia Dillon and I jump on the occasion and we all got away. We maintained that break for the remaining of the race. We worked well together and we gained about 2 minutes on the rest of the field and maintain our gap. Two laps before the end of the race Allison and Olivia started attacking the break. We all regrouped in the descent of the last lap. Going up the hill for the last time Olivia attacked and took the win, following by Allison and then me. I finished 3rd. Annie finished 10th.
Thank you Dan and Lauren for the cheers and the feed!!

Winters Road Race
Women pro 1-2, Katheryn Curi-Mattis, Annie Fulton et moi.

The race started at an easy pace. Katheryn (as she had planned and informed me at the start line) attacked the first time up the hill, I jumped with her, but my legs felt awful (AWEFUL), 4 other women got away with her (Jane Despas, Jerika Hutchingson, Davis bike club and Tibco). The rest of us coasted up the hill and all the way, through the first lap. The second lap we rode it at a steady pace, 2 women from the break fell back with us (Tibco’s). There were about 10 of us riding a paceline. Annie Fulton really pushed the speed up the hill. On the third lap, I continued at a steady pace through the feed zone (we had made an agreement to keep the feed zone neutral so everyone could get a bottle of water. It’s was a baking 115F out there, woa!). I grabbed 1 bottle and after the feed zone, I looked back and I was alone. Somehow, I could not see the remainder of the field! I continue to go up the hill and down the descent solo. BTW, up the hill was the Davis bike Club women who had been dropped from the break due to a mechanical. She was on middle of the road fixing her bike with 5 dudes. I almost ran into them. Anyway, I continued solo, not too sure how I was doing, but at least every time I looked back I could see no one, down the hill, on the flat portion of the course... Suddenly, at the horizon, in front of me, appeared Jane Despas. I passed her, but she caught my wheel. She said she was cramping and couldn’t do any work. So, I just continue to go. Really, she was the one I had to beat to improve my Cal Cup standing. After a few miles, she was still there behind me. So I asked her to help a bit with the work, she rode in front of me, stretch out her hamstring and slowed down. I went back up front and continued riding. I was starting to get tired and slowing down, I think. I again looked back and she went up the front for a bit. But that that time, disaster, I could see the main peloton coming up behind us. There was nothing I could do. They rode by, Annie was riding at the front, I sat back in for a few miles. Jane Despas did the same. Up the last roller, Jerika attacked strong. I tried really hard to go with her, but I couldn’t. She went away by herself and finished 2nd. Then, about 3 miles before the finish, Emily Kachorek (Wells Fargo) jumped and I went with her. We were unfortunately accompanied of Jane Despas, Jane Robertson and Kimberly Fong. At 200m to go, we started the sprint. Jane Robertson won, followed by Jane Despas and I. I therefore finished 4th. Tough race. Katheryn won. Annie finished 10th.

Challenge Road Race
Women 1-2-3, Annie Fulton et moi.

A small field of 10 women started the race. Apparently, we were going to gain 3000 ft of altitude every lap. Top altitude was 7000 ft. It was a race by attrition. Great technical bumpy downhills and long uphills. Annie Fulton raced super strong and made the first lap very difficult for every one to complete. Many women dropped after the first lap. At the feed zone of the second lap, I was in the lead group with Jane Despas, Laura Fenech and Erin Moeschler. We were barely spinning, everyone looked burned out. I was an up hill sprint, I had checked the finish before the start of the race (lesson learned from Patterson and Dunnigan, right!!), and I had a few visual markers. At 300 meters, I jumped and started sprinting. Yes, I know, kinda early, but I was hoping to surprise them, and to get a gap (my only way to win the race probably, defying the better sprinters!). I had kind of a second wind and after the jump, my legs felt great for about 225 meters… Then, all of sudden I thought I was going to pass out, I started seeing stars... saw Jane… and then Erin, riding pass me and then the finish line. I finished 3rd and Annie finished 5th. This was my last race for this season! I think I need a break!! This was a great season! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vacaville Grand Prix

Race Report: Vacaville Grand Prix

Date: 8/16/09

Teammates: Katheryn Curi Mattis (3rd), Karen Brems (4th)

I love this crit course! It is technical, has a hill, is interesting and has all sorts of environmental surprises! We had a surprise star appearance by Kim Anderson (Columbia High Road). I kicked the race off with fulfilling my season’s worth of race flats in a matter of minutes. I had rolled the course along the sidewalk while the race before us was still running and ran through some goat heads. I pulled up the start, looked down and saw two in my front tire and at least four in my rear. Luckily, Mark was at the start and was kind enough to lend me his front wheel while Dan (the great coach he is) ran to the car to grab my rear Zipp. I won’t lie. I panicked a bit. But then it was all taken care of so professionally that I started the race without skipping a beat. We hammered the first lap and there were several attacks. When everyone was clearly tired and the field slowed into the head wind section after the hill I decided to jump and see if I could get a break going. My thought was that Kim, being a world-class time racer, would attack off the front at one point and that if I could get a break going first she would at least have to work to chase us before possibly blowing past us. Unfortunately none of the riders I was hoping would come with me did. I was out there for about 2.5 laps which pretty much wasted my legs. When we got caught Kim launched and Katheryn followed. She spent the rest of the race chasing Kim with a Colavita rider. While they never caught Kim she secured herself a third place finish. Karen and I communicated (rather late, my fault) to set me up for the sprint. While the lead out was going great (we had gapped the field heading into the final corner) I was toasted by the time we were within 400 meters of the finish. Karen gapped me and the rest of the field so I yelled for her to keep up and go for 4th, which left me leading out the rest of the field. I stood to sprint but had not legs so I rode it in for about 10th place. An exciting field for a small-town local race!

San Ardo Road Race

Race Report: San Ardo Road Race

Date: 8/22/09

Place: 2nd/ ~15

What a surprisingly chilly morning! I was not feeling particularly chipper this week but I love this road race so I decided to give it a whirl. Unlike last year’s pretty awesome field, today’s field was relatively small, but still mighty. We rolled out calmly for an uneventful (besides a pee-break as a master’s field passed us) first lap. The second lap saw a few attacks, but nothing that stuck for very long. The final lap we played yo-yo with the men’s 35+ 4,5 field which was funny. They passed us and then slowed up and some girls launched attacks through their field, I assume with the idea of confusing the peloton. Coming into the final half of the last lap three riders set a nice tempo on the long, flat, straight section that I love so much. As we came in sight of the start area a Davis rider attacked and I jumped on her wheel. The next to launch was the Touchstone lead-out. I jumped to her wheel, maintaining my second place position. As we came through the feed zone and approached the underpass a rider came barreling up on my right and I reflexively jumped to grab the wheel. Only then did I realize that I had jumped on to a masters Morgan Stanley rider from the 45+ field! I glanced right and saw Shin (sorry about that Shin!!). I hesitated for only a moment in the apex of the final left-hand turn and then got swarmed by master’s sprinters. Just as it was too late to regain momentum I saw one woman from my field sprint wide out of the swarm and I knew I was beat. It is too bad that we had to get all jumbled up because this is one of my favorite finishes in local racing. Next year I won’t hesitate J PS Great lead-out by the master’s men!

Thanks for reading!