Wente Vineyard Criterium, Livermoore, CA – 27 April 2008
I returned from our unofficial TIBCO altitude training camp in Reno Saturday night and had planned to do a 2hr ride on Sunday with a few intervals. Early Sunday morning my house mate informed me of a local Californian criterium he was planning to do, so I decided to travel to the criterium with him and do my training, whilst he raced.
During the car trip, I decided that it would be fun to race in the master’s men’s field to get in a good workout. Upon arriving I heard that due to a few delays in earlier races, the women’s race hadn’t started yet. So I entered, and was informed I had 10 minutes to get changed and get to the start line, so I felt like my race started the moment I signed my release form. Within 5 minuted I was changed, number pinned, bottles filled, tyres pumped and I warmed up by rolling around in circles in the car park.
I spotted the TIBCO development team who had successfully stood on the podium the day before and went and joined them. They had finished their race meeting but I assumed our goal was to win the race. As we stood on the start line, I asked them about today’s course and was told it was a 1 mile clockwise loop, with big wide open roads and no technical corners.
My own goal was to get a good work out in preparation for the Tour of the Gila that I am racing next week. I waited two laps to spin my legs and then attacked. I saw my heartrate climb to 190 as I attempted to ride off the front into a headwind. I was soon brought back where I recovered for a few laps and then attacked again. It was a difficult course to get away on, with big wide open roads and enough teams committed to chasing break away riders.
There were a number of sprint primes throughout the race and Ali Rosenthal (TIBCO development team) and I helped lead each other out to successfully win some wine, a massage and some green backs. With only 10 minutes of racing left, as we rounded the first bend after the start/finish line, there was a touch of wheels and the horrible sound of bikes crashing. Ali and Ashley had no-where to go and ploughed into fallen riders. A rider to my left panicked, and also came down. I managed to ride between her and the piled up riders on my right. I felt someone ram into my back but didn’t crash. Due to the number of riders down, the race was neutralised for 20 minutes so we stood around and drank water.
The race resumed and the officials told us we had 3 laps to go. I sat second wheel and watched for any attacks. I didn’t want anyone to solo away. On bell lap, I stayed in the top 10 and waited for Liza Rachetto (TIBCO). As planned she came up on my left in the final corner and opened it up down the left gutter. It was a head wind so I didn’t want to jump out too early, but I also didn’t want to get swamped. I started my sprint with about 300m to go and gave it everything. With 20m to go, I could see a rider coming up on my right side. I dug deep but Mary Ellen Ash (Easton/Sugar SRM) managed to get her wheel past and take the win. I finished 2nd whilst Elis Bradshaw rounded out the podium for 3rd.
A great job by team TIBCO to get on the podium two days in row.
1st Mary Ellen Ash (Easton/Sugar SRM)
2nd Helen Kelly (Team TIBCO)
3rd Elis Bradshaw (Metromint)