Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's a Super Week for Velo Girls -- part 4

Three Team Velo Girls members travelled to Wisconsin to participate in the legendary week of bicycle races -- Super Week! They'll be racing everyday for eight days -- 6 criteriums and 2 road races. Here is the report on Day 4 from team member, Emily Weinert:

AltoLab Lake Front Road Race presented by Hincapie Sportswear
Wednesday July 22, 2009
Milwaukee, WI
Women 3/4

The day started out rather gloomy for us - tired legs and cloudy skies, but we headed out the door and rode the ~4-5 miles down to the race start. The course was 5 laps of an approximately 4.2 mile loop with 2 punchy climbs and 2 descents - one curvy descent and one wide open, gradual descent. After warming up on the course, we headed to the starting line, despite talk of running off for waffles.

As we were waiting for the whistle, it started spitting, which seemed rather fitting. Finally, we headed off on Lake Dr. towards our first climb, which left my legs and lungs screaming. Luckily I was able to tuck in for the flat section along the top of the bluffs as the rain got heavier. On the first time down the twisty descent, we had two riders from our field crash and also saw a M4/5 wiped out in the gutter. Luckily everyone was ok, and after a very careful remainder of the descent, we made it back onto Lake Dr. and headed for our next climb.

The next lap also saw 2 crashes, one on the descent, which kept the field fairly polite. However, as the laps went on, the roads started to dry and the winds on Lake Dr. picked up, so everyone started fighting for wheels. People kept throwing attacks out on the second climb of pretty much every lap, but the field would catch them on the narrow park roads before our sweeping descent to the start/finish. I wouldn't say that I was feeling good, but my legs were doing ok and I was able to tag onto the back of all the attacks on the climbs, which I was pretty happy about. Also, I finally got my racing head on straight and was able to be more aggressive about fighting for the wheels I was on, which was good (I was having serious pack anxiety in the first 3 races).

At the end of the 4th lap, Christine Riker (Dolce Vita) launched an attack up the second climb (she led some fantastic attacks throughout the race) and when we got to the top the pack was nice and stretched out. However, just before the right turn to the sweeper descent, our pace car pulled us over and basically stopped us so we could be passed by the men's pack before the turn. Unfortunately that also allowed all of the pure sprinter types to grab on to the pack again, which came back to bite me later on.

When we finally took off again, we headed down the descent at break neck speed and flew back up the first hill. I dropped to the back of the lead pack on the curvy downhill (I just couldn't get the sight of all the skidding crashes out of my head), but sprinted back into the pack in time for the final hill of the race. The wheel I was on got gapped on the downhill, but I was able to get myself (and sadly, most of the pack) up to the group of leaders with about half a mile to go. I wasn't able to tuck in, so I found myself even at the front of the pack as the sprint started. It was all going
pretty well and I was even with the others in the top 3-4 until the last 20m when they all put it into an extra gear and I found myself sitting back on my seat. So, in the end I finished 11th, but I'm definitely the happiest I've been with my race so far. Dana and Jill took 22 and 23 and worked their butts off time trialing it in the horrible headwinds.

But, the day did end on a bright note with the three of us getting to watch the pro men's race and see some amazing racing. And tomorrow, we're off to Racine for a funky almost figure eight of a crit. Wish us luck!

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