Monday, March 29, 2010

Redlands (Ange)

Right after the San Dimas Stage Race, Ange McClure, the Aussie on the Bridge Team, jumped straight into Redlands, and finished with a fantastic 23rd place overall! Nicely done for her 2nd US race ever! Here's her race report:

Redlands Road Race

Sunset Road Race: 18th

GC: 23rd

25/3/2010 - 28/3/2010

My arrival in Redlands from my the Webcor/Alto Velo team in San Dimas which was my first taste of the American racing scene left me eager and excited to race the Redlands Stage Race.

First up on Thursday was an uphill 5k TT. It was a chance to shake out the legs after San Dimas and to get rid of some "big race" nerves. The course was tough and I finished middle of the field of 112 girls. The winner if the stage Amber Neben from the team Dare to Be- BMW Bianchi.

Friday brought about a 68 mile road race. The morning was brisk and the atmosphere was dull at the start of the stage. This quickly changed when the whistle blew and girls scrambled to the front. I went for the first KOM points however fell short, and did not succeed this was on lap 1 which was an extended loop of the 3 lap race, the last 2 loops being smaller then the first. 2nd lap I tried desperately to be in a break but nothing was sticking, mainly due to the wind managing to hold everyone together, an individual or group of riders not being string enough to break of the front. The 3rd lap left me gripping at my bars due to my efforts on lap 2, and I finished with the group, the result of the stage coming down to a bunch sprint won by Ina- Yoko Teutenburg of HTC Columbia.

Saturday's Crit saw the legs go through another tough knock out around the street of Redlands for 50 minutes. The heat was turned on after 30minutes which left the field strung out and fighting to hold wheels and positions. The action packed race resulted in a small break off the front that left team Colavita with a stage win by Theresa Cliff-Ryan.

The last day of Redlands is the penultimate stage on the Sun Set course around Redlands totalling 68miles, 9 laps of a very hilly and technical course. I did not know what I was entering myself into when I started today's main stage. I rolled off the start line with my legs suffering from the last three days I begin the jostling for position and it was only the neutral zone! As we approached the our first lap which contained a KOM first lap, the pace was on and the tone was set for a hard race, as soon as the flag went down to start racing I told myself " bring it on!" The first time up the climb was fast and positioning everything. This was the case for the next 3 laps where the selection was made and a group of 20 or so was a head of the pack, I was one of them. The race stayed heated and huge efforts were needed on the hill, and concentration was needed on the fast and technical downhill sections. On lap 7 the crunch came for me and I was dropped, before I rejoined the leaders on the bottom of lap 8 to be dropped again on the climb and to confirm I had nothing left in the legs! With the main group now splinted in two, ten up front and ten chasing, the aim for the second group was to push through the with depilated legs and body and limit the time gap. Four of us were working hard on the front for the last two laps to ensure time loss was minimal. The final outcome for the group I was in: 3minutes down behind the lead group of 10 with the winner being Evelyn Stevens, another win to HTC-Columbia.

As I sat down after the race guzzling down a coke and pouring water over my head, I knew I just got through one tough race and it will be one of many more to come. I still have a lot to learn, a lot of improving to do, for my first NRC I'm happy and looking forward to the racing ahead!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bridge Team Spring Schedule

This is always changing but here are some of our target races for this spring.

March 19,20,21 San Dimas Stage Race
March 25-28 Redlands Stage Race
March 27,28 Top Sport SR
3-Apr Copperopolis
April 10,11 Spring Hill TTT and RR
April 17 & 18 Chico Stage Race
24-Apr Wente RR
1-May Cat's Hill
2-May,8:30-9AM Volunteer for MA's school bike ride
9-May Berkeley Hills RR
May 7,8,9 Collegiate Nationals
May 6-9 Joe Martin Stage Race, AR
May 15-16 Women's Amgen Tour of Ca, Sac?
22-May Volunteer Bike Outfitter Lady's Day
30-May Mt Hamilton
31-May Memorial Day cirit
June 4,5,6 Tulsa Tough
6-Jun Liberty Classic
June 11 & 12 AVC (Velodrome, local)
13-Jun Sattley District 40K ITT
June 16-20 Nature Valley
June 22-27 Nationals

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Madera Stage Race Crit

Madera Stage Race: Criterium (Stage 1)
W 1,2
Teammates: Maura Kinsella
Place: Lauren – 1/34, Maura – 16/34

This is your basic, four-corner crit, true American style... about five lanes wide. There is nowhere to hide on this course. The winds have you completely at their mercy and, of course, they were gaining speed for the two hours leading up to hour crit. Somehow our warm up time flew by and I only got about 15 minutes of turning the legs over. We lined up in the pit to watch the 4s and 35+ women finish up. By this point we know that there is a pretty strong cross (slightly head) wind on the finish straight, tailwind on the second stretch, massive cross-head wind on the third side and a straight on head wind on the final bit over the railroad tracks.

Finally we are allowed to line up and are given our pre-race instructions. There would be two primes worth 5 seconds each and 20-10-5 bonus seconds for first through third places at the finish. The plan was for me to take both primes and the win with Maura’s lead-outs and hope that I could stay close enough in the time trial to make those worthwhile for a podium spot overall. Off we went.

As usual, people were pretty conservative before the time trial. There were a few attacks but nothing committed. I stayed at the front and tried to keep Maura in close distance. The bell rang for the first prime and right off the line a Touchstone rider attacked. I followed in the chase, staying out of the wind. When we hit the headwind side everyone slowed down and I ended up on the front through the last corner. Not ideal but I sprinted and took the 5 seconds.

We rolled around for the rest of the race, with a couple of attacks. At one point we got overtaken by a group of threes who had broken away from their peloton, which had started behind us. That caused all sorts of chaos and ended up causing a crash on the head wind side, which both Maura and I narrowly avoided.

We came around and saw 5 to go and still hadn’t heard the last prime bell. With three to go the announcement came over. Perfect. No one wants to sprint three laps before the real sprint. I took this one seated, trying to put out as little energy as possible. The one lap to go bell rang and some teams tried to start a lead out. There wasn’t much organization so it got a little messy on the third and fourth lengths. I came out of the last corner on the inside and farther back than I wanted. I began sprinting out the ride side of the group maybe 10 meters after the turn and held it to the line. This was kind of like a fun points race at the track. I enjoyed myself. ~Lauren

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Merco Grand Prix Race Report

Race Report: Merco Road Race
W 1,2,3
Teammates: Maura Kinsella
Place: Lauren 7th/62, Maura 58th/62

Merco is one of my favorite road races in California. The course is perfect: flat to rolling with a very interesting finish. After a short warm up I lined up next to Ina Teutenberg. After a short, goggly-eyed introduction, I tried to focus on the race.

There were several attacks on the first lap. A few things got away for a short time but nothing really stuck for long. My order of events is a little fuzzy so from here on most moments are in no particular order... Ina attacked the field and got of solo probably for about 20 minutes or so. Up until then I had been sitting in, hiding from the wind but saw the chance to open up my legs and test the field. I knew there was no way I was going to catch Ina as she was at least 20 seconds off the field (not to mention she is insanely strong). But, I decided to attack the field anyway to see if, by chance, they would let me try. No cheese. Now my legs were feeling opened up, though.

The rest of the race unfolded much like the first lap. Columbia and Tibco were making sure they knew who was where and if they knew the breaks were no threat they let them dangle for a bit. The Webcor gals had an AWESOME race. They attacked the field more than any other team and with only three riders. Unfortunately nothing stuck but they certainly kept it interesting.

The last lap came around and we were still grupo compacto. Again Webcor attacked like crazy which kept the pace up and the race safer (for the most part). I made sure to pay attention to the great sprinters in the field: Shelley Evans, Brooke Miller, Ina Teutenberg and more. I tried to hold a position in their near vicinity and most of the second half of the lap we all formed a little pocket in the sweet spot. Things got hectic as the lead-outs tried to get organized and every solo rider was fighting to join the party.

On the downhill into the left hand turn to the Merco feed zone hill, I made my move to get to the front. From that point it was on. I did the best I could to stay in the frontish end of the field and managed to do ok with the help of Lindsay Meyers (Webcor). Crossing the bridge I heard a crash behind me and had a feeling Maura was in it. Between the final left, then right hand turns I could tell the right side of the road (where I was) was getting jammed up. Just then I hear Ally Stacher (Webcor) yell from the left side and look over to see her blocking a space for me to squeeze by. I made it over with Lindsay’s help and sprinted like hell up the final hill. I made it over on the wheel of a Colavita rider who was on the wheel of a Touchstone rider. We sprinted seated and FINALLY hit the 200 meter sign. Those had to be 200 of the longest meters EVER. I didn’t have anything left to jump around the two girls ahead of me so we rolled in for 5th, 6th, and 7th behind Ina Teutenberg, Shelley Evans, Kelly Benjamin and Brooke Miller. Not a bad day considering those four names...

Unfortunately Maura was taken out from behind by a couple of riders on the bridge and broke her new Specialized frame and took a nice chunk out of her elbow. Luckily no bones were broken, though. She had an AWESOME race patrolling the front and maintaining great position throughout the day. This is going to be a very fun year!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Merced Cycling Classic

Merced Cycling Classic
Crit: Women's 1/2
Place: 20th

This past weekend, my team and I went to Merced, CA for the Merced Stage Race. Ange, our token Aussie, came for support since she broke her wrist and is out for a few weekends of racing. Thankfully, the team opted out of doing the TTT on Friday due to school, work, and a very jetlagged Aus. So instead we headed out Saturday bright and early. On Saturday afternoon, we had a 6-corner, flat crit in the heart(if you can call it that) of Merced. HTC-Columbia was there, getting ready for Redlands, along with the other top dogs: TIBCO, Peanut Butter and Co, and Webcor. The race was fast, but not as excruciating as I had expected. In the 40 lap criterium, I attacked with 25 laps to go, not afraid to put my nose in the wind, and to see what kind of damage I could do. Not much. I was off the front for like half a lap and then was brought back by Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia). I recovered well after that attack and so I decided to go for a prime at about lap 15. I was 2nd to the prime, outsprinted by TIBCOs Megan Guarnier. After that, I led at the front for half a lap and then slowly moved back. After this dig, it was harder to recover, feeling totally gassed. I kept good position, top third of the peloton for the rest of the time. There was massive carnage with 3 laps to go, completely stopping the field for about 15-20 minutes. We were off again, starting at 5 laps to go. It was really hard to go full gas again after stopping for so long. I wound up finishing top 20, still in the money, which was pretty cool in an 80-person field of the top women in the country and world.

Merced crit race report from Maura on the Bridge Team