The road season is off to a great start for the Cafe Racers, with our new women’s team taking podiums in each of their first two target races. Read on for stories about their experiences!
If you’re a woman who’d like to ride with the RSC team, come out this Saturday, April 21st. At 9am, they, along with RSC team mentor & pro cyclist Mo Bruno Roy, are hosting a group ride and clinic for beginner women. (No charge, just show up!) Check out the details.
Following this ride and clinic at 11am, the team will host a fast women’s ride for those who are up for a pace of 17+ mph to/from Harvard for approximately 60 miles.
Read on for their exciting race stories!
Chris Hinds FUJI “Sunshine” Criterium – by Lauren Kling
Chris Hinds Criterium is at a paved, cycling specific track in Ninigret, RI. Most of the team was in attendance at our first target race of the season, with Lauren Tracy in the women’s 1/2/3 race and Joy Stark, Celia Riechel, Cait Dooley, Erin Faccone and myself in the women’s 4 race. Both races were on course at the same time – the lap was about 2 minutes and we had a one minute split between the two fields for an hour of racing. Prior to the start of the race, the promoter thanked us all for attending – he said it was the first time in 10 years that he’s been able to host both a 1/2/3 and 4 field! Previously the categories have always been combined into a women’s open race.
With a number of turns and a stiff headwind we knew it would be difficult to make a break stick on this course. Our plan was to just attack repeatedly in the hopes that we could tire out the field and I was the designated sprinter for the finish. To that end, we took turns going off of the front over and over again throughout the hour. I was aggressive at the beginning of the race, initiating the first attack, getting pulled back, and joining the next couple of counterattacks. After that I let my teammates take over and largely sat in the field, with the exception of contesting a few primes. During all this we were marking who the strong riders were – Liz McDonough, of Arc En Ciel Racing, showed herself to be a very strong rider, matching every attack we sent out. Lori Cooke of Cycle Lodge and Michelle Packer of Union Velo were also people we were keeping an eye on.
When we had about ten laps to go the leader of the 1/2/3 field, Silke Wunderwald, had broken away and was coming to the front the 4 race. We had been told we could work with the other fields if we ran into each other and I was concerned that she would breeze through our field taking Liz and Lori, who were at the front, with her. I moved forward and so did Erin. I was able to sit on Erin’s wheel while she marked every attempt of theirs to break and kept me sheltered and at the front. I got a little too eager in the last half of the final lap, getting ahead of any of my teammates attempting to lead me out – whoops. I came into the last turn second or third wheel before making my jump. Liz came around me right before the line for the win and I was able to take second place. Erin took fourth even after all of her hard work at the end and Celia got into the top ten with a strong 9th place at her first crit, with Cait and Joy finishing soon after. Lauren Tracy also got a top ten in the 1/2/3 field. All in all, it was a very successful first race for the team and we had a great time!
Tour of the Battenkill – by Joy Stark
With a course that sports 4,000 feet of climbing, steep grades, and 10 dirt sections, this 62 mile race deserves to be called “epic.” This was my third year racing Battenkill, which provides a motivation for me to train consistently through the winter months. Teammate Celia Riechel joined me in the Cat 4 field, making Battenkill her first ever road race. It must be noted that 150 Cat 4 women registered for Battenkill this year, requiring the promoter to split the field into two smaller fields of 75. From previous experience, I knew that the race would be uneventful until we reached the Juniper Swamp climb, about 12 miles in. Celia and I were in great position going into the climb and were able to make it over the top with the lead group of about 18 women.
The next 30 miles were largely uneventful aside from the struggle to stay with the group over climbs. What I lacked in climbing power, Celia and I made up for on the loose dirt sections, where we were able to drive the pace, thanks to our cyclocross skills. Celia flatted on a gravelly section of dirt 45 miles into the race, and found herself off the back without a wheel when neutral support gave her a wheel that was incompatible with her frame and drove away. I stayed with the leaders until Meetinghouse Road, a series of unfriendly dirt rollers, which split the group. The last ten miles of the race were the most difficult for me as I was determined to hold my placing. I was thrilled to learn that I placed 10th, and Celia an impressive 24th after recovering from her mechanical.
Myles Standish Road Race – by Cait Dooley
Myles Standish is a gently rolling 20 mile circuit race with some rough pavement sections and a fast downhill finish with a left-hand turn. Going into the race, I was the designated sprinter, and as a team, our strategy was to send a few of our ladies up the road and make a break stick. At the start, the RSC women were scattered throughout the first and second row of the 25+ women’s field, and it was an awesome feeling to have these women on my side for my second real attempt at road racing.
At the start, the pace was fairly easy, until Joy, Celia and Cindy took turns at the front. There was a bit of sudden braking and swerving in the field, and that made it difficult to move around. We made a few break attempts, but none stuck. On lap 2, Lauren and I looked at each other across the field and nodded to each other that it was on to make a move. I unsuccessfully tried to make it through traffic, and Lauren launched an attack alone that would stick for the remainder of the race. Arc-En-Ciel rider, Liz McDonough, rode away with her. With Lauren in the break, we covered any attack that other riders made, but otherwise sat in.
On the fourth and final lap, Lori Cooke (Cycle Lodge) made a move and Elizabeth Cummings (NEBC) and I went with her. The two person break was 45 seconds ahead at this point, so I worked in the blistering chase group pace Lori had set toward the finish. In the sprint, I sat back for a little too long and Elizabeth nabbed the final podium position, and I got 4th. The field was right behind us and Joy won the field sprint for 6th. Celia and Erin were our other top-ten finishers, coming in at 9th and 10th.
The next target race for the Ride Studio Cafe women’s team is the Sterling Road Race on May 12 in Sterling, MA.