Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nationals Road Race

Once again I'm writing more as a journalist than a participant with a great story to tell. Hum... I did not believe I could make the selection so I went in with an all-or-nothing strategy of making an early break in the hope that the field would misjudge and give it too long a leash. I was alarmed to learn at the start that there would be no neutral feeding and was all the more recklessly inclined. OK my fault for assuming but come on - for an $85 dollar entry fee and a 110k race with temps forecast in the mid-90s!?! Rolled off the front at mile 1 and we had a nice group for a second - Nicky Wangsgard (Colavita), Brooke Miller (Tibco), and Sam Schneider (TT1) (pictured) - but then some actual contenders like Andrea Dvorak appeared and that was that. I sat in for a while then attacked around mile five. Three riders bridged up - Tibco plus Liza Rachetto plus another Value Act plus TT1. We got it rolling and lasted to the top of the feed zone climb at mile 11. I got gapped up the Archie Briggs climb at mile 17, chased back on, but it wasn't looking too good. Lap 2 the field was not going that fast but I was not going fast either up that feed zone climb. Up Archie Briggs I came off the back and hate to say it but sort of gave up. With the TT tomorrow I entered the race unsure if I would finish - but it's sort of a self-fulfilling negative prophesy that doesn't sit well. There really wasn't any point in flogging myself for 50th, but it's easy to second guess and ask "well, maybe if I had sat in I could have made it." Because as it turns out..... the uber-climbers did not kill it like they needed to to whittle the field done and the final standings came out of a group of almost 50 riders! My old coach Tom Stevens once gave me this salient piece of advice, that when I was strongest on the hills, even if I did not want to get away it paid to make others suffer by going hard. I would have expected this from Mara Abbot, the strongest climber and racing without teammates. Evie, also riding alone, seemed to be shadowing Mara. The two of them could have really put the hurt on the field. Following on twitter from the host house, seems like Robin Farina, then Amber Rais spent some quality time off the front solo, the field chilling, then after the catch Kori Seehafer launched a powerful attack. In the middle of the second climb on the final lap, Meredith Miller (TIBCO), Amy Dombroski (Webcor), Kristen Lasasso (Independent/Mellow Mushroom), and Chrissy Ruiter (VAC) launched off the front of the field. They caught Seehafer. Within 5k to go, Meredith attacked and got a good gap. Meanwhile, it seems that Mara Abbot launched across with Evie Stevens and Kat Carrol. Meredith Miller 1st, Ruiter 2nd, Lasasso 3rd, Seehafer 4th, and Carrol 5th. Dombroski wins U-23! Way to go Lasasso!

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