Monday, May 18, 2009

Denzer RR - Wheels on Willy Crit

picture thanks to Monique

What a great weekend of racing in Wisconsin! Team Kenda only got stronger this weekend with Ashley joining us after coming back from her freshman year of college. Ridiculous winds, cool temps, and plentiful sunshine were the conditions for Saturday's road race in Denzer, WI. An undulating course through the beautiful Baraboo bluffs with two nearly mile long climbs per lap.

Jill, Ashley, and myself were representing Team Kenda with about 15 other girls on the line. Our plan was to just sort of see how the first lap went, knowing that all three of us climb well. Four miles into the race the climb began and I was feeling good so I rode near the front. I pushed a bit harder through the false flats and over the next rise and when I looked back only Ashley and Jill were immediately behind me with the strung out field several seconds behind them. I continued to keep the pace high and we began to work together. We were pretty excited by the possibility of the three of us staying off the front but it was still very early in the race.

Thanks to John of Peloton Pix

We could see a chase group of about 5 riders back in the distance. The head wind/cross wind sections were horrible - it felt like we were going so slow. The next mile long climb came and we could see the chasers gaining on us. We all encouraged each other and as we got to the top Ashley had fallen off. We saw Julie from Planet Bike just behind us and I knew Jill and I should give it a go with just the two of us. Ashley is a smart racer and I knew she would try to grab Julie's wheel as she came through.

As Jill and I worked together I looked back and saw Ashley sitting on Julie's wheel. The rest of the chasers had gotten strung out on the climb and I could not see them. Jill and I were working well and our gap was getting bigger. Through the head wind section I looked back to see Ashley alone and time trialing her way up to us - Julie was no where in sight. Jill and I immediately sat up and once Ashley was up to us we turned on the gas and tried to give her a break from the wind. Julie had been pulling the entire time and dropped her chain. Ashley attacked her and was able to make it back up to us.

We were determined now to stay away and the three of us practiced our team time trial skills for the next lap. It was really fun to ride with my two teammates all day off the front of the race. It was such a beautiful course too and the views of the hilly countryside were stunning. Both Jill and Ashley were riding really strong and as we finished off the lap we decided to give Ashley the win on the day. Her determination and smart racing kept her in that break and she deserved to take the W.

Here's a picture of the finish . . . we'll have to get Ashley to practice a better victory salute ;)

Thanks to John of Peloton Pix

Sunday brought a criterium around the Capital in Madison. Generally this is Wheels on Willy weekend but because of some road construction the race was relocated to around the square. I've never gotten a chance to race around the Capital so I was pretty excited. It's always fun to race on home turf and have lots of friends out there cheering for you. Thanks to the Brazen Dropouts for all of their hard work putting on this great race.

It was a picture perfect day with calmer winds, lots of sun, and warmer temps. A talented field of over 30 riders on the line. A few more teammates today with Shelley, Theresa, and Imelda coming out. Monique (who is still recovering from the Iowa City crash) was our cheerleader and photographer for the day and it was great to have her there. The race was fast and furious from the start as Madeleine from Team BH attacked and was off the front for almost two laps. BH rode a really good race with her teammates Devon, Kristen, and Anne riding smart and aggressively. Jill and I were also doing some attacking of our own trying to get a break off although nothing seemed to stick.

thanks to Matt Cook for the photo

I took the first prime by just nipping Devon on the line. The field split at about this point and a group of about 15 gapped the rest of the pack.

thanks to Matt Cook for the photo

About mid race the Superweek prime (free entry to the entire 14 race series) was called out and I happened to be in a good position with the field strung out. I came around Devon before the last corner and took it. Hmmmm . . . I hadn't really planned on doing those races as I have a busy race schedule in June/early July. Regardless, it's worth a lot of money and either myself or one of my teammates will be racing the series. Attacks kept flying as the laps counted down. Jill was riding really well trying to get something to work.
thanks to Matt Cook for the photo

It looked like a move with Devon, Jill, and two others might stick but Kristen M. tried to bridge and I wasn't going to sit by and let two BH riders dominate the break. I got on Rachel's wheel as she chased down the group and eventually we were all back together.

As we came through with one lap to go we lapped the remnants of the field and Devon was at the front stringing out our group with Kristen on her wheel. I was just behind them and didn't feel like I had enough power or time to move up before the last corner, which is 200m or less from the line. We rounded that corner and as Kristen came around Devon I tried to move up on her but she's too fast and the line came too soon. picture by Monique

Kristen took the win, I was 2nd, Devon 3rd and Jill finished 5th. What a great, fast race - the primes and constant attacks kept the pace high and we averaged just over 24mph for the 40 minute race.

picture by Monique

It was a really fun day and it was great to chat with people who came out to spectate. Mo, Jill, and I grabbed some drinks and snacks at the outdoor seating at an Irish pub on the square and watched a few of the afternoon races. It was a blast.
Thanks again to Monique for coming out to cheer us on and take so many great pictures!

This upcoming Memorial Day weekend includes one of my favorite races - Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa on Saturday. The short but intense race goes up the steep, cobbled switchbacks of the "Snake" and it feels as much like a TT as a criterium. The field is going to be stacked this year with many incredibly strong riders making the trip for this legendary Midwest race. It's going to be a really fun weekend of racing and I'll try to get in an update if I can!


Mo said...

The next best thing to racing was spectating and cheering you guys on! The capitol photo is my favorite too but I still need to brush up on learning how to use my camera! Can't wait for Snake Alley! There should be some great photo ops there too!! Yay Kenda!!

Anonymous said...

Great job at both races! I wish I could have been there...the Madison crit is awesome (it is also a collegiate season race, and one of my favorites!). And kick some butt next weekend, too, as I (and I imagine Mo) currently race vicariously through my teammates!