Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cascade Stage 4 - And Then I was Done

Stage 4 was an awesome race, not so much for me but in terms of team racing and battles on the road. As I mentioned, Webcor entered the day with Evelyn Stevens in the jersey and IBCO with five riders in the top ten overall. We had QOM at mile 2 of the 71-mile stage, and TIBCO went from the gun. That first QOM climb was brutal on cold legs but I hung on. DFT had missed a break of eight that went up the road. I tried to follow a few bridgers across but it wasn't happening. It was time to sit and rest. Webcor (especially Katheryn Mattis) rode tempo on the front governing the gap. The rest of us enjoyed a very smooth ride on more of Bend's spectacular roads. As it turned out, TIBCO wasn't too happy with the break - their rider was not highly placed on GC or the strongest climber in the break - so in a sense their aggressive tactic backfired. They tried a few times to bridge across but as it was the break came back around 40 miles. For the next ten miles we had some aggressive racing and I followed moves. One stuck without DFT in it - not a disaster coming so close to the final climb - containing GC threats Cath Cheatley (Colavita), Jo Kiesenowski (TIBCO), and Alison Powers (TT1). Webcor drove a hard chase (there was a lot of dangerous horsepower in that break) and brought back the break over about 5 miles. We were all together entering the rollers around 60 miles in, pace very high. Then after feeling solid all day I just drifted off the back on a roller and that was it, dead long before my time. Clawed a bit but then I just rode it in with Katheryn Mattis (evidently I can climb on par with my old New England rival once she has ridden tempo on the front for 100k). She was getting reports from the radio - Evelyn at 25 seconds, 30... I remembered that feeling of how great it is when you have done your job and your leader is sealing the deal. Being psyched for them dissapated some of my extreme disappointment in my own climb. Webcor had ridden awesomely in the face of enormous pressure from the TIBCO gorilla. Evelyn won the stage - remarkable given the windy and long flat sections of the climb - with Amber Rais (TIBCO) and Alison Powers (TT1) behind. Teammate Marisa had a great climb and moved into 13th. Interestingly, although I got shelled before the climb even started, I will note that our East Coast climbs are much steeper (though shorter), and that we rarely (if ever) have courses as flat as the course leading into the final climb. The racing really feels different. Pictured: final climb up Mt. Bachelor.

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