Friday, June 19, 2009

Blue Mounds Road Race

Thanks to John of Peloton Pix

Thursday was the first race in the America's Dairyland Series with the Blue Mounds Road Race. A 44 mile race for the women - it included two laps of a 22 mile course that gains 2200 feet per lap. In addition to the constant rollers it included one extremely steep half mile climb on Pinnacle Road at about mile 12 and then a long steep 1.5 mile climb at mile 20 on Mounds Park Road. With the severe terrain we knew that this was essentially a race of attrition and that if you didn't enjoy climbing you probably weren't going to have much fun in this race!

Not many of the girls had preridden the course so few knew what they were really in store for. There were about 30 of us on the start line with Team BH, Verducci, and Lipsmackers, and Vanderkitten being the biggest teams there. For Team Kenda we had Jackie, Krystal, and myself.

I was sort of shocked to see riders attacking on the downhill section of the course which is nearly the first 8 miles of the lap. This made enough other riders nervous though and nothing stuck.

The first time we got to the Pinnacle climb Amanda Miller pushed the pace and over the top a group of 9 of us had formed with only Verducci having 2 riders in the break. After a bit of disorganization we finally began to work together to increase our lead. Once we got to Blue Mounds Road the pace was again lifted and the entire group was strung out with Amanda and Devon from BH getting a gap at the front. Over the top of the climb the remaining 7 of us were all split up and by the time we reached Bringham Park to begin the long descent we had organized together and began to work to chase the duo down. The SRAM neutral car came around us to follow the leaders and we knew we had to work together if we wanted to catch them.

Verducci worked hard to bring them back and really all of the riders were taking turns at the front. Our group split up slightly on the Pinnacle climb again but over the top we reorganized and really pushed the pace - at one point I thought I was going to pop off the back of the group! Thanks to John of Peloton Pix
The SRAM car came closer and closer though and we finally caught them with about 4 miles left in the race. We rode together with no one really wanting to push the pace as we all knew we had a solid 2 miles of tough climbing. As we reached the base a rider attacked but we were soon all back together. As the pitch increased the group strung out with Amanda and Devon leading the charge. A group of 4 formed with myself and another rider dangling off the back. I got past her and tried to push hard over the slightly flatter section before the final corner. The group was just 10-15 seconds ahead and as we turned and came to the steep final half mile I got out of the saddle desperate to get any last power out of the legs. I couldn't get there though and as we neared the top I just tried to hold my spot to finish 5th.

Congrats to Amanda on the win and Devon for second. Those two valiantly tried to hold onto their break and their ability to still take the top two spots after we caught them is a testament to how strong they're riding this year. Our chase group rode really well together too and the vibe was positive and encouraging. I'm really looking forward to racing with this field of women over the next 11 days. Check out Verducci's wild looking bikes - it's like a carbon skeleton!

Krystal hung tough and finished in the money for 14th place. After a lap Jackie knew this course had the potential of killing her legs and she smartly pulled out to conserve for the upcoming 9 races of the series.

What an amazing course and a well run event. Everything from registration, to the corner marshals, to the race vehicles was flawless. This course is the proposed 2016 Olympic road race course if Chicago gets the bid and I think everyone racing agrees that this would be an excellent venue. Very tough terrain and beautiful scenery make this a true test of fitness and skill. We'll find out in October whether Chicago gets the bid or not!

Congrats also to local ISCorp rider Matt Busche for winning the men's Pro event in an extremely talented field of riders. It was so cool to see him cross the line nearly 30 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor. ISCorp helped put on this race and it was awesome to see one of their most talented riders take the win.

After the race we "Skinned" up (gotta give props to the sponsrs!)

and headed back to Madison to get some food and rest up. Today is a 1.5 mile circuit race in Waterloo near the Trek Headquarters. Several severe thunderstorms passed through Wisconsin last night and there are more coming our way this morning. We're hoping we somehow race in dry weather but it's not looking good. So we're preparing ourselves for 60 minutes in the rain/storms. Sounds like fun!? :)

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