I went into the women’s pro 1/2 field at KSR with some hesitant due to poor performance at the past two races including Bennington SR and Sterling road race from mechanical and dehydration issues, respectfully. I received some very persuasive encouragement from a friend reminding me of how well I have performed in the past at the 1st stage of KSR, the circuit race, which I consider one of the best courses suited to my riding abilities as a sprinter, and gradual climbs requiring a lot of power. Therefore, I went into the race on a mission for redemption and the green jersey.
The women’s P 1/2 circuit race was very typical of most; many surges and attacks and then slowing back down significantly, and then the pack regrouped. This was a big difference from last year, which consisted of various attacks, but then maintaining a very aggressive speed. Therefore, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen at the circuit race, especially after the QOM, so I knew I had to stay in the front of the pack for the entire race in order to not let a break get away. A break never formed, and I spent a deal of energy closing a few gaps.
Following the first QOM there was an attack driven by Silke down the descent and into the right hand turn. Heather managed to gain control of the field and led the group at a reasonable pace looking to make sure no one was making any moves going into the last few miles before the first sprint. I held a great position, about 4 bike lengths back, but what I neglected to look for was where Silke (Kenda) was. I did not know how well she can sprint! About 1K 2 GO the pace picked up, and Heather fell back. I was now in 3rd position, and just after 500 meters, I made my move. This turned out to be too early, but I was simply not patient enough, Silke came around me just at the finish line, and so I took 2nd in the first immediate sprint.
Following the first sprint, I managed to catch my breath for a minute before there was a counter attack. This was quickly reeled back in again. The second lap had many more attacks, and the pace was a bit higher, but still manageable. After the 2nd QOM the feed slowed many riders down, so this gave me a chance to make my way to the front of the pack for the descent. On the back stretch, the pace was again reasonable, and I maintained the same position going into the 2nd intermediate sprint. At 500 meters to go, I realized I was blocked. A rider on either side of me at two riders in front. This turned out to be beneficial, since I did little work being pulled into 300-400 meters. The two riders in front peeled off and I had a perfect lead out for the final 300 meters, with Silke sprinting neck and neck with me. She just beat me out.
KSR Stage 1 Sprint
KSR Stage 1 Sprint
The final (3rd) lap there was not any notable attacks until approximately the final 10K to go, when Sheila (Sunapee) made an attempt to break away while Heather was trying to lead and control the field again. At first no one responded, but eventually she was pulled back in. Around 2-3 K to go things got out of control in the field, with the pace intensifying, and everyone jocking for position. I started getting really anxious and worried about my position about 6-8 bike lengths back; not where I like to be. I could not get around without infringing the yellow line rule, so I was patient until 500 meters, when I made my move. I passed 2 riders and then noticed 2 other riders jump for the finish. I followed suit, but was just a little too late. I sprinted for a 3rd place finish the hardest I think I have ever gone for it before, with the green jersey in mind.
At the award ceremony, I discovered that the race winner had taken a few points in an intermediate sprint as well, which resulted us in a tie for the sprinter’s jersey (since a race win is automatically 12 points vs 3rd place 6 points, its hard to win the green without winning overall). Total for each of us 14 points. Since she was ahead of me GC, she took both the green and the leader’s jersey.
Special thanks go out to Metaball for fueling me today, and Jenn O’Connor for post massage!
KSR Stage 1 Podium