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Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun with Double Races in the Sun!

Ok, well, that title is totally misleading and inaccurate, because this past weekend’s races were NOT contested under sunny skies, as you will read.  But,  we needed a rhyme and we’re a bunch of optimists, anyway.    🙂

Live Love Velo was well-represented at both the Hunter Mountain Spring Classic and the Inaugural Women’s Woodstock Grand Prix.  And despite grey skies (okay…and torrential rain) and a few unexpected twists and turns (quite literally), it truly was a fun and rewarding weekend for everyone who raced.

Hunter Mountain Spring Classic 2013 as reported by Tori:

The morning started off with spotty showers but the weather forecasted the rain to be light and probably delayed until the afternoon. At the start line this seemed to be the case with no rain and only wet asphalt from the mornings sprinkles. However, 3 miles into the race it started to pour. And I mean pour. It was raining so hard the rain drops actually hurt. The first part of the race was tempered by everyone trying to survive this torrent. The race has two main climbs. The first climb around mile 3 immediately split the field of 26 leaving about 16 girls in the lead group including Amy and myself. Amy was on the front of the pack as the group surged over into the descent and she was able to grab onto my wheel (I was in the middle front of the group drafting as much as I could because my legs were slow to wake up that morning) and we both made over the descent. Not many attacks happened in the beginning of the race, I assume because everyone was trying to stay in control through the onslaught of rain.

Finally, as we approached the second climb at mile 20, the rain abated and the sun started to peak out. We were still a relatively large group of 16 and some riders on the front half-heartedly tried to launch little 30 second surges to stress the field. Everyone stayed together into the second climb. Amy jumped to the front to take a turn at pulling and led us into the first part of the second climb before falling back to take some rest. As we approached the final, and steepest, part of the climb I realized that I was spinning at 100 watts and had much more to give. I thought that this would be a good chance to try and thin the field. I pulled out of the group, rode to the front and cranked up the wattage. I was soon rewarded with the sounds of heavy panting behind me as the intensity increased. I am in my element on climbs so I was more than happy to keep chugging along. Over the top of the climb I let up and soon enough the expected counter attack from Stan’s No Tubes took off over the crest. Up out of the saddle to jump onto the break and soon enough we are a group of 10 girls. The rest of the race consisted of flat sections to the finish which came quickly thanks to a solid line rotation orchestrated largely by the ladies of Stan’s No Tubes who had three girls in the break. We shelled a few other girls through the remaining turns and went into the sprint with 7. This was my first sprint finish every and, only having seen them on TV and hearing my husband tell me his tales of triumph, I knew two things.  Spin fast and pick a good wheel. However, everything happened so fast and I ended up with no wheel and was spinning, but not fast. I placed 6th in the sprint, meaning I finished only before the Stan’s No Tubes girl who had led out her teammate. Ok, I am not a sprinter. I don’t have the deep strength developed. But! Who comes around the corner to tear up her field sprint with monster power for 8th place? Amy!

The great thing about being part of  a brand new team is discovering the depth of skill among my teammates.  I am rapidly seeing that each member has a different skill to offer, which makes us a real power in races.  I am happy to discover that I can’t sprint but Amy really can. These are the things that will help us develop our race strategies and ultimately give us success on the race course. Every race we gain more knowledge and strength to help us get better and better each time.

Amy’s Take on the Woodstock Women’s Grand Prix:

May 12th, Mother’s Day was the inaugural Woodstock Women’s Grand Prix and Live Love Velo was well represented.  The day started a little overcast, but things brightened up when Diane showed up with her freshly tuned, impeccable Cannondale, complete with tightened headset and front wheel.  Having powered into the finish on a flat tire at Hunter the day before, I couldn’t help but admire her contagious enthusiasm as she promised to be even more of a threat now that her bike was actually working.    There were two fields Pro – 3 and masters doing a planned 53 mile course and a Cat 4 doing a planned 34 mile course.  Myself, Diane, Allison, Christina, and Andrea anxiously awaiting our start while Robin took off on the 53 mile loop.    We were heartened when Allison’s husband James showed up ready to ride, knowing that he’d be on the course looking out for us.  We took off fast right out of the start, there was an attempt at a breakaway early on, but those of us in the front group were able to bring it back in.  One of the girls in the front group then organized us into a pace line, reminding the resistance that “everyone was going to work today and that the work will come when we reach Meade Mountain.”  She was not kidding.  That was the climb that determined how things would turn out (or at least so it seemed).  One of the girls in the front group took off at the base of the mountain and established a considerable lead on the rest of us who panted our way up the 2 mile climb.  At the end I was one of three who had dropped the rest of the group by also a considerable amount and off we went on the descent to try to catch the lead girl.   With only a few miles left in the race the excitement was building in anticipation of the finish.  At mile 28 with 6 to go, the group behind was still nowhere in sight, however, neither was the lead girl.  The pace car was with the lead, so the three of us were depending on the marshals who inadvertently lead us off course onto the Pro-3 route.  Just about at the top of another climb a motorcycle marshal chased us down to advise us we were on the wrong course, was turned around and got back on course but not before the 2nd chase group passed in front of us and finished before we did.  We were not the only ones lead astray as many of the women behind us (including Christina, who apparently was having so much fun, she decided to do an extra 10 miles!) also got lead onto the wrong course.   Nonetheless, I think all of us had high spirits having conquered Meade Mountain (even though all admitted to actually considering walking their bikes at one point or another) and been a part of this all women’s cycling event.  Most importantly, we were all present to see Robin come barreling into the 4th place finish in her field.   I haven’t gotten an opportunity to ask her what she thought of Meade Mountain, but I can guess she’ll humor us by saying it was tough.

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