Friday, July 15, 2011

CRCA Women’s Clinic 2011

On June 5th, Radical Media teamed up with Fuoriclasse Racing-Discover Chiropractic to host the women's introduction to racing clinic—a simulated 3-lap race around Central Park. Many racers got their start at this annual event, including Evelyn Stevens who has skyrocketed into highest ranks of the international circuit in a few short years.

It was a great turnout with 35 women sacrificing their weekend sleep for the early-dawn race. Backgrounds varied from recreational cyclist to triathlete to women making due with borrowed bikes. Before the line-up, Radical Media’s Ashley Prine calmed nerves with a pre-race instructional talk. Veteran CRCA racers did a great job with the peloton providing support, encouragement and coaching throughout.

From start to finish, strong riders maintained a high pace. Attacks on the west-side rollers spiced up each lap while the field successfully chased them down. Prime winners--Stephanie Kaplan, Marylynne Wrye, and Maria Mahn--rocked it on Cat’s Paw, shedding a few more riders from the field. A breakaway group at the final climb up Harlem Hill couldn't maintain their advantage but they led the field to the finish. Race winner Stephanie Kaplan went for it early--at the bottom of Cat's Paw--followed close behind by Sara Herman and Luci Olewinski for 2nd and 3rd for a long sprint finish at the Met.

A recap and Q&A session with cycling coach Tara Parsons followed the race along with prizes and goodie bags generously donated by members of CRCA, and our product and bike shop sponsors. Prizes included private coaching from Ann Marie Miller, coaching and a bike fit session from David Taylor (both on Fuoriclasse Racing-Discover Chiropractic), a massage from cyclist Betsy Hafkin, a signed HTC jersey from Evelyn Stevens, products from the Sportique skin care line and a gift certificate from Bicycle Habitat. To reward the newbie racers for their efforts and courage, all participants received products from Peanut Butter and Co., Accenture water bottles, Fluid Recovery, and Clif. Many thanks for all of your support.

All in all, a great day for bike racing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Erica takes 2 for 2 -- Two second places at Giro del Cielo and Tour of Syracuse!

Congratulations to Erica Adelberg, who took second place in the Cat3 field at the Giro del Cielo on May 15-16 and another second place at the Tour of Syracuse, May 22-23.

Here's what she had to say about the criterium at the Tour of Syracuse, where she won the sprinter's green jersey:

Crit: Very fast race, not all that hard to hold on and not overly technical, but still a challenge in discipline and focus, and the fastest crit I've been in from a mph perspective, which was both invigorating and a little terrifying. The other Raddies put in some good attacks, as did a few riders from other teams, but pace was too high and wind was too strong for anything to stick. As for me, I really focused on trying to figure out where the best position to sprint from was as there were some s-turns and curbs in the final approach, and was happy and surprised that I got it figured out for the intermediate points and the finishing sprints. Crit must have been somewhat hard though because my HR maxed at 186 at some point, which is the highest I've seen so far this year. In any case, coming across the line first out of the 3s earned me a really cool green jersey to be worn in the road race on Sunday, along with a nice trophy and a little cash.

And here's Erica's report on the road race at the Giro del Cielo:

Road race in on a pretty rolling 5.5 mile loop, 6 laps for the cat 3s. A few non-omnium riders joined us today too to bring our numbers up to around 15 again. I was still in 2nd place for the omnium, 3 points behind the woman with whom I'd tied for the 2nd for the TT. Basically all I had to do to stay in second was to stay on my bike and place fairly well in the road race. But I wanted more! Getting my first 1st would be my ultimate goal.
On the line they announced that there would be one points prime, 3 deep, worth 10-6-3 towards the omnium. So it turns out that it's not just the finish we'll have to worry about. My idea was to get on Deborah's wheel and come around her at the line like I had in the crit. But I'd lost focus and miss her jump, and end up getting 3rd for the prime as Kristin Lotito comes around me for 2nd. This improved my 2nd place odds by a few points, but now I was even further out of 1st...
Those of us who sprinted have a little gap at this point, but it's into a downhill and we don't organize and the top contenders are all in it anyway, so we all slow up. Except for one rider who is not competing for the omnium. I can't tell you what happened there because I was so focused on Betty and Deborah I honestly didn't even see her go up the road, but she must have jumped around the corner and got a good gap on us rather quickly. There is some discussion about chasing her down, but the three of us have no inclination to help, and I guess no one else was motivated either so off she went. We never saw her again.
Anyway, we just continued to roll around, race felt mostly like everyone was just waiting for the final sprint. As we're going up one of the steeper climbs on the 4th lap, Betty puts in a pretty good acceleration. I find I'm in too light of a gear to respond properly, so I shift up but my bike reacts violently under the pressure of the chain movement and literally bucks me right off. I could never be a rodeo rider. So as I hit the ground, I'm like, "Holy crap, I actually managed to lose my podium," I was so mad at myself! But no one crashed into me luckily, so I picked myself up as quickly as I could, straightened my brakes, got back on the bike and just hammered. I could still see the front group despite the fact that Betty was apparently trying to take advantage of my misfortune by attacking even harder. But adrenaline is a good thing for bike racing, and within a mile or so I was able to clamber back on, picking up 5-6 stragglers along the way (still haven't figured out if they were dropped because of the time lost getting around me when I was sprawled on the ground or if Betty's group had legitimately escaped them, probably a combo...given how much they thanked me afterwards for towing them back up).
Anyway, so it comes down the the finishing sprint after all. In response to how the prime sprint went down, I decided not to fight Kristin for Deborah's wheel, as I could use all the help I could get in order to get to the line, since it tends to be a long sprint, and Kristin clearly wants that position. But Kristin went early, which I thought could work out, so I stuck on her wheel. Alas, Kristin had totally mistimed the sprint, and sat up long before the line, I came around her at that point, but with Deborah, Kristin, and Pan Pan all on my wheel, so instead I ended up giving them all a nice leadout to the line, as I sprinted for 4th in the field sprint, 5th in the race, but....yes, at least a 2nd place podium for the Omnium! I will be happy with that for what turned out to be a fun and challenging weekend!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Curse of Colt's Neck

Erica's race report from the May 3rd Tour of Colt's Neck: 19 miles (3.8 mile course, five laps).

So every time I do this race, something bizarre happens at the end. This year was no exception...
Actually bizarro world started out early yesterday, with every cross-street in Manhattan reportedly being closed down at 6th Ave for the 5-borough bike ride. We can't even get rolling enclosures for most of our races, and they get to shut down Gotham city? Okay, so 32000 of them vs 32 or so racers, but still...

We were expecting a nice, warm, small race in which we could practice some of our team tactics on unsuspecting New Jerseyites. 17 were pre-registered, minus Dara, so we expected 16 on the line, take or leave a couple, including just a couple of other CRCA regulars (Deb K and Colleen C). But as the start time neared, more and more familiar faces started floating by, Alejandra, AMM, Fabienne, Stacey Jensen, Kristin Lotito, etc....basically any who could and would hope to dominate the field in a sprint finish. So it was a much more packed and stacked field than we had expected, and was destined to come to a sprint at the end. Ann Marie sat at the front most of the race, cementing the field any time anyone had the gall to try to break away (which mostly was just Ashley, myself, Alejandra, and Gabby).

I believe the field was a little sketchy at the back all along, but I did my best not to be back there as I prefer not to deal with riders going backwards around the corners and on the one steep hill each lap, although I have to say that from my perspective there was less swarming and dying there than in the past, might have been my better positioning there than in the past, or might have been that we dropped some of the riders notorious for that early on. In any case, a final moment of sketchiness came as riders jockeyed for wheels just before going up the hill for the 5th (and kind of final) time, as it's all going for the finish after that. Didn't see what happened but all of a sudden the entire field in back of me seemed to fly sideways off the road. I think in reality it was only a few riders, but one of them was Fabienne, who ended up having to get 14 stitches in her leg and hip, speedy recover to Fabienne.

So it was going to be a smaller group heading into the final sprint, but as we came around the final corner, we were thrown into neutral by a downed cat 4 woman who had crashed in their finish on the previous lap. Some riders in our field diligently slowed down, being told we'd still be able to sprint up the final roller after the crash to the finish, others moved up to gain advantage (including, I suspect, some of those who had been caught behind our field's crash a couple of minutes before), and still others gave up the thought of sprinting altogether. At that point it was a bit of chaos as we began to sprint the final 200m or so to the finish. I was on Stacey Jensen's wheel, which was right where I wanted to be, as both her acceleration and her ability to maneuver through a field to the win is, in my mind anyway, legendary. I figured I could at least try to get 2nd to her 1st. But given the line she was taking I was sure she was going to be boxed in by Betty Tyrell, so I hesitated for a split second, only to hear her yell out "Betty, Move!!," and in a flash, without missing a beat, she sprinted forward to take the win, with me, both dumbfounded and impressed, and nowhere near her wheel anymore, rolling in for 8th, with Ashley just behind me for 9th.

So we thought that was it. But the insane and totally unreasonable USAC official, the same one who very unfairly relegated me last year from 4th to 10th, muddled over the rather unfortunate finish to our race, and after about 45 minutes, called us all back to the finish line (at least those who hadn't gone home to their families by then), and declared a do-over. Not a final lap, just a final mile or so. Most of us had cooled down, finished off our water, and on an 85 degree day, were not really in the mood to replay the most hardest and dangerous part of the race. So they agreed to limit it to the top 21 for the replay, and back we went, to restart our finish just in front of where the downed riders from our field were still being treated for injuries. I was still trying to find out from Colleen which hospital Fabienne was going to be taken to in order to communicate it to Colleen's husband David when everyone else lined of course I was no where near Stacey's wheel when we started off again. Anyway, long story short rolled in for 8th once again, with Ashley just behind me for 9th (and yes, Stacey won again...)

Long race report for a short race, but you can't make this stuff up, thought you might all enjoy a peek at the twilight zone that is NJ racing at it's best.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CRCA Race -- March 27, 2010

Cecelia Pleva took 1st place in the CRCA women's race on Saturday, March 27, 2010. Congratulations, Cecelia!

Here is her report of the race:

When I got to Central Park that morning, I was more confident with myself and especially the team from our Wednesday practice with our coach, Nina Strika. I really felt that with defined roles in a lead out, it would help us execute a winning finish more efficiently. I was eager to try out certain elements we went over in practice during a real race situation. Since it was cold and it was only 4 laps, I decided to liven things up a little early instead of waiting after the first lap. As we went up Harlem Hill, I was a bit shaky since weaker, less experienced riders were holding me up and I got boxed in the middle. Also, I noticed there was a lot more braking in the field which made things a bit choppy. I attacked over the West Side rollers close to the reservoir since a) i needed to warm up b) it was effective in practice and c) I discovered it was a good spot for me. I think Donna counter-attacked after I got caught which was good because I don't have any real endurance right now and I was getting tired. I did notice Donna was turning her head around and looking behind her. I was thinking "Don't do that!" If you turn around and look it makes everyone know you aren't that committed to the attack/break and you may be giving up. I was thinking that Donna is strong enough that it was entirely possible she could stay away if no one bridged up. I don't really remember what happened in between, details escape me on who did what.

The next thing I remember was Gabby attacked and I went after her and just stayed on her wheel. I didn't see the point of going around her since I wasn't going to let her go and she would do all the work since I was tired. Before I knew it, Corrine, me, Gabby, Renee and Laura Lee bridged up and we were in a 5-woman break. I'm like, "How did this happen?" Corrine started joking about how funny it would be if this break stuck. I surveyed the group and knew of course this was the most unlikely break situation, since the experience level combined wasn't very deep. I knew I had the most experience and if I screwed this up I would never forgive myself. So then I decided, that I would win this one. We worked the last two laps in a pace line with Gabby coaching us. I was too tired to coach anyone. The Velocity girls were both really strong and had a few surges in the last lap. Corrine talked the entire time and I was dying. I feared the Velocity girl, Renee, would try to break off on her own but I knew I couldn't let her go no matter what.

The girls revved up their engines just before the boat house and I remained calm and basically sat on their wheels up Cat's Paw hill. Then the drag race started, 3 across, and they were surging early so I just got on Renee's wheel and simply went around her in the final sprint (just like practice). Then I won! Nuts! Believe me, if anyone is capable of ruining a good thing, it's me. I couldn't believe that I actually won. Yes, some other strong contenders weren't there, and I'm chalking it up as a lucky fluke, but it goes to show you that any break is possible and you never know what will stick. A proud day for Radical-Media's first team race!

P.S. I have some major training to do...

We also got news this week about a former teammate of our, Evelyn Stevens, who is now racing professionally with HTC-Columbia. She took first place in the finale of the Redlands race. Her spectacular finish was profiled in VeloNews, where we are now accustomed to reading about her cycling endeavors. Amazing, Evie!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Season Opener: Bethel, CT

Ashley, Maria, Donna

Three of our riders participated in the season's first out-of-town race in Bethel, Connecticut: Ashley Prine, Maria Quiroga, and Donna McMahon, who placed 5th, 10th, and 3rd, respectively.

Donna McMahon's race report:

The race started out easily for the first couple of laps and then there were some attacks. Maria, Ashley, and I did some attacking and counter attacking. We made sure that certain very strong riders did not get away! With about 6 laps to go, I attacked on the hill but did not get away. Maria did a lot of work on or near the front throughout the race and for the last 2 laps or so I stayed on her wheel for a lead out. At the finish, a little after the hill started, I sprinted up the hill. Two Metro riders were already a little ahead but I pushed hard to get third. Ashley got 5th and after doing a lot of work and leading me out (thank you!) Maria stayed strong for 10th! We were way outnumbered and still did great!

I definitely felt the most comfortable I have so far while riding in the middle of the pack as opposed to on one of the sides or on the front! I believe I saved some energy EXCEPT for my silly mistake when I thought one of the laps was a prime! I pushed pretty hard for part of that lap and then up the hill. (When we crossed the line just before that lap, I heard a whistle! I know in CRCA races there are whistles blown all the time by the marshals and I am used to it! But yesterday that was the first time I heard the whistle in the race and it was the timing of the beginning of the next lap!) I have not done many races yet where they offer primes but I still should have known better! I still had the rest of the race to recover and feel stronger again but I do apologize for the mistake!

This is my new favorite criterium course! For those who have not done it yet, it is about a .9 mile loop (22 laps) that is well paved (only minor dangers were a manhole after the first turn that was a little lower than the pavement and the gratings on the sides (they put wooden boards over them to make them safer). Overall a fast, safe, and FUN course with the one little hill at the end of each lap!

It is a great start to the season for us and I know we will improve with each race. We worked smoothly and I know we will get better and better. I want Radical Media to be known as "The team who owns the Podium"! :-) Now I am going to go learn the difference between a whistle and a bell! :-)

~ Donna

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The first day of spring

There's something to like about every season in New York City, but for the cyclist, spring just may be our favorite time of year. There's nothing so freeing, after a long winter spent cooped up in a closet-sized apartment, than to jump on the bike and take off, out of Manhattan, across the George W. bridge, over to the hinterlands of Bergen and Rockland Counties. This is exactly what I did today, while my teammates Maria, Ashley, and Donna were competing in Bethel, CT. I was a bit jet-lagged and my legs felt none too fresh, but I saw the first purple crocuses and daffodowndillies, and the day was sweet. I was reminded of the things that drew me to cycling in the first place: seeing the bright sky over the city when I cross the GW bridge on my way home; putting on sunscreen for the first time this year; the feel of my heart in my chest and the cool air in my lungs.

This has been a particularly long and cold winter in New York, and we have been spending more time than we'd like indoors on our trainers, or cross-training. It turns out that we are, besides cyclists, also runners, swimmers, skiiers, and weight-lifters. Donna continued her triathlon training over the winter; Dara skiied in Minnesota and biked in Cali; Maria went to the other land downunder and trained out of Auckland all winter; Erica rode her bike in Thailand; and I skiied, nordic-style, whenever and wherever I could. But we'll all ready to get on our bikes now, and spring seems made for the cyclist in New York.
~Emily Maynard

The view from the George Washington Bridge.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome to Radical Media Cycling

Who We Are

Radical Media Cycling is a New York City-based women’s cycling team composed of ten riders who compete in top amateur and pro-level races in the New York metropolitan area, New England and the mid-Atlantic region. We are professional women in our 20’s, 30’s and 40’s – a literary scout, a goldsmith, an artist, an editor, a scientist, a producer, a casting agent, an interior designer – who love the sport of bike racing and are fiercely committed to it. We race every weekend from March to October, competing in single- and multi-day events, and are dedicated to continuing our rapid trajectory toward becoming a dominant force in local and regional racing while maintaining our commitment to the development of women’s cycling.

A special Thanks to Jon Kamen for being the best sponsor ever! We will make you proud again this year!

Meet the Team

Erica Adelberg
A competitive swimmer in her early years and a competitive runner through college, Erica came to cycling through the multi-sport world. Erica began her second year with the team by upgrading to Cat 3 after a seventh-place finish in the early-season Grant's Tomb criterium. And it only got better from there, with highlights including second place in an open women's field (!) at the Tour of High Bridge, fourth in the Giro del Cielo stage race and sixth at the ur-competitive Chris Thater criterium. Off her bike, Erica uses the quantitative skills acquired as a math major at the University of Chicago to manage a proprietary trading fund for a financial-services firm.

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "Sweeping Maggie Shirley's wheel in the final CRCA race of the season as she took the podium, the Team Cup victory and the Jim Boyd Championship for 2008!"

Jaimie Epstein
Unlike most of her teammates, Jaimie had no competitive sports background when she got hooked by bike racing after a stint of recreational (read: social) riding. But she had developed a strong physical jones from years of training as a dancer, a jones more than satisfied by the discipline and intensity that are competitive cycling. Jaimie, one of the team's veterans, likes nothing better than to smack down for the benefit of the team as a whole, but thanks to big life changes she didn't get a chance to do that this past season and had to get her race thrills vicariously through her teammates. Sigh! Jaimie loves to telemark and is a yoga teacher and writer.

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "That would be the night before the final Team Cup race, when the emails were fast and furious with last-minute strategizing and team spirit, the excitement was practically burning up my computer screen, and I so so wished I could be on the line with my teammies at dawn the next morning."

Dara Kiese
Dara could never keep up with her big brother. As a reactionary little sister, she not only hated sports, but became a pretentious anti-jock: an aesthete...and a nerdy bike commuter. A mountain bike trip to Moab in 1994 was a revelation for her inner athlete, but it took her until 2007 to find an outlet in her city life via NYCC club rides. After a couple of summers trying to crush unsuspecting opponents on friendly group rides, she's finally made it official and joined the team. She is ever-surprised at the complexity of the sport with its team tactics, rider psychology and the element of chance. And more importantly, is faster than her big brother. Off the bike, Dara lives and breathes the Bauhaus at MoMA and shares her love of cycling with her little boy, Arlo.

Jenny LaPlante
With two unsupported cross-country bike trips to her credit – one East to West, the other West to East – and several mere thousand-milers, it's safe to say that Jenny has more miles in her legs than any of her teammates. In 2005 she decided to take that base to the racing circuit and proved that endurance plus power was a dangerous combination – dangerous to her competitors that is: Jenny can keep going when others flag, like on the fourth day of a four-day stage race, when she literally rides away from the field! Jenny's huge engine is key to the Raddy leadout train, and her dad's incomparable Caesar salad is now key to our training table. Off the bike, Jenny, a University of Chicago grad, uses her huge literary engine to scout for international book publishers and even manages to read manuscripts during race weekends when the rest of us are too zonked out to even watch TV.

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "The last Team Cup. The team was so amped up cause we knew we could do it, but it wasn't a sure thing. It was awesome being able to show what we were worth."

Emily Maynard
Emily Maynard is new to racing this year. Radical snatched her up at the CRCA Women's Racing clinic where she placed top three her first time out. She went on to get fourth as a Cat4 at her first road race, Housatonic Hills, and placed third at Union Vale. Emily has dabbled in other little-known sports like Nordic skiing, diving, and ice hockey, but as soon as she sat on a road bike she knew it was something different: "Cycling feels so natural to me, it feels like something I'm supposed to be doing. Running feels like work; cycling feels like play." Emily only started to ride last year as a NYCC member, but she is looking forward to a full racing season in 2010.

Besides her cycling ambitions, Emily is a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology. She will analyze you, but only if you ask nicely and don't hold it against her.

Donna McMahon
Donna McMahon has been a lifelong athlete with an ability to push herself beyond where mere mortals usually care to go. Running was her first sport, and she is proud to have won the Long Island Marathon twice, as well as other races of varying distances. Then she started racing in duathlons and triathlons -- and won several varying in distances from sprints to Half-Ironman. Hmmm, winning seems to be a theme here! Donna has competed in 12 Ironmans, including twice in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships. A professional triathlete from 1999 to 2007, she started bike racing last year, and says, “Nothing I have ever done compares to it, and I am hooked!” Donna is now focusing her tremendous physical talent solely on cycling. She LOVES the intensity of cycling races! “I have learned a tremendous amount and have a long way to go,” she says. “I am having a great season and look forward to the journey ahead!” Donna has a degree in psychology and is USA Cycling Certified Coach, USAT Triathlon Coach, personal trainer, and Core Instructor. She also works part time as a UPS driver. Her heart is in coaching and racing. She looks forward to learning and becoming a seasoned racer.

Fave Race Memory: “The Empire State Games. I learned a lot and won two bronze medals and a gold in the TTT!”

Rachel Lederman-Melendez
Rachel is a latecomer to the sport of cycling. But being athletic has always been part of who she is. Before Rachel started racing a few years ago, she was a runner and triathlete – she placed Top 5 for her age group two years in a row in the NYC Triathlon. Rachel loves racing. As a matter of fact she met her husband as a result of it. But life has taken a new turn for her with the birth of her daughter. She is now a full-time mom, part-time producer, part-time racer. The passion for the sport is still there, but the time to train is precious and challenging to carve out.
Rachel races locally whenever she can and supports the team by managing the blog and cheering loudly. Rachel has set her sights on upgrading to Cat 3 in '09, a goal that has eluded her in the past due to injuries and babies, but this year it will be done!

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "Racing with the team at Lou Maltese and being able to put some hurt on Radical's competition in the field."

Nanci Modica-Perera
One of the team's most talented sprinters and a track racer par excellence, Nanci has been balancing motherhood and racing since the birth of her first child, Frank, in December 2005. Fortunately, she loves racing almost as much as she loves her baby boy and manages to keep herself in shape so she can tear it up for her team in local events, with her husband and baby boy cheering from the sidelines. Nanci is proof that it's hard to keep a devoted cyclist and team player down. Nanci continues to be devoted to building the sport by finding ways to support new and young riders. A master goldsmith by vocation, Nanci makes customized accessories for designers like Ralph Lauren as well as one-of-a-kind pieces for private clients and gallery boutiques from St. Bart's to Las Vegas.

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "Although I didn't make it to the finish line myself, watching my team win the season finale on our home turf was just beyond."

Cecelia Pleva
After Cecelia won one of her very first races, the Lou Maltese Memorial in 2006, we knew we had to scoop her up fast – and did. A week after she joined the team, we were off to the Owasco Stage Race in the Finger Lakes, and Cecelia, clueless but gung-ho, insisted on coming along. We warned her that stage-racing was a lot for a novice to take on, to just keep her expectations low and learn as much as she could. Well, she taught all of us a thing or two. This girl is indefatigable. She chases finish lines the way a rabbit chases a carrot. And that would be one fast rabbit: rumor has
it that Cecelia was a 5.5-minute miler in marathons and had an athletic scholarship in college. In the 2007 season Cecelia tackled the Altoona stage race in the pro field, a weeklong race with 100-mile days, and even that couldn't wear out her battery, but it did earn her lots of road cred and an upgrade to a Cat. 2. Cecelia's most recent day job was casting director on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and she moonlights as an amateur pie critic. Just call her Piehole.

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "After a freak fall during cross training last year that left me needing surgery to repair my ankle, I was just thrilled to be able to race at all – every race was my favorite moment!"

Ashley Prine
Ashley claims to have never been especially athletic, never involved in competitive sports, but we're not buying it. Not the way she rides. Away from the rest of us up hills. Always holding her own near the front of the pack, regardless of the race. Despite having a husband who races, she hadn't really trained when she came in second in the women's racing clinic in Central Park in '07. She soon discovered the exhilaration that comes from being pushed beyond your limits and took to racing like, um, a fish to water. This season, Ashley got herself a proper coach and pushed even harder, which resulted in her upgrade to Cat 2. Ashley is really excited that Radical has such a strong Cat 2 posse now and all the possibilities that holds for next year. Ashley is a painter and works as a senior designer at Sterling Publishing to keep herself supplied with tires and canvas.

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "It would have to be Hilltowns. We had been climbing for just about five miles when I finally turned around to see who was behind us and couldn't see another girl in sight – there were just three of us left at the top and we never saw the pack for the rest of the race!"

Maria Quiroga
Maria never knew she was a masochist until she started bike racing in June 2006. She prefers longer races with climbs and for some reason actually enjoys uphill time trials – well, we said she's a masochist. Maria was a competitive swimmer, soccer player, figure skater and skier as a child but had been sports-free for 20 years until she discovered cycling. All that competitive juice must have still been coursing through her veins, though, because she had a whopping 20 Top 10 finishes her first season and has eyes (and legs) on a Cat 1 upgrade next year. When Maria is off the bike she can usually be found holding a camera of some sort (she just finished shooting her second documentary) or editing videos.

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "I guess it would have to be Battenkill. I got dropped in that race last year and knew I had to challenge myself by doing it again. I trained hard and really gave it everything I had, but I really didn't expect to win!"

Maggie Shirley
Three words: Pro on board! Maggie Shirley started racing as a collegiate in 1999 and spent three seasons with Scuba Genesis, culminating in the year the pro team was ranked first in the nation. Maggie hails from the deep, deep South, where she learned two things: 1) when kicking a man's patootsky, do it with a smile and he might not notice, and 2) women are the eclectic foundation of the world. She is looking forward to her second season with Radical Media in "Yankee land," as she puts it, and spreading her doctrine. It also happens to be where she is attending med school, which she says is fun but hurts more than cycling! She's graduating this spring, so then we'll have a doctor on board.

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "When it all came together in the CRCA season finale. We worked so hard this year to race as a team, and the tactics were executed flawlessly, without a word being spoken. It was awesome!!!"

Evelyn Stevens
Evie is the kind of racer you'd love to hate if you could, but you can't, because while she is certainly a phenomenon she doesn't hold that against herself, probably because she doesn't believe it. Yes, once every few years a woman like Evie cluelessly plunks herself down on the start line, having just bought herself a bike and racked up a teensy bit of spring mileage, and by the end of the season she's a Cat 2. Spectators could get whiplash watching her upgrade so quickly, and it's been great fun for the team as well. We doubt the tennis she played at Dartmouth helped, but maybe being related to a cyclist (her sister rides) means there are cycling genes in the family. Whatever. We can't wait to see what the '09 season holds in store for Evie, or, rather, what Evie has in store for '09, and are hoping her day job at a Mezzanine fund doesn't mess with her training!

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "The last climb in Stage 3 at Green Mountain. It was exhilarating to race that hard and get a win. But it was also great getting in a break with Ashley at Hilltowns – it made me want to be on Radical!"

Kimille Taylor
Kimille's competitive spirit – she's a former equestrian and hurdler – is more than satisfied by bike racing, as anyone who has ever gone head-to-head with her in a sprint can attest. Kimille has quite a list of victories to her credit, including being a three-time winner of the Lou Maltese Memorial (once as a 4, twice as a 3) and wearing the green jersey on two occasions in two of the most prestigious amateur races on the East Coast: the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic in Massachusetts and the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont. Kimille's goals for next year include upgrading to Cat 2 and having a little Raddy (i.e., baby), but she can't decide which to do first – decisions, decisions. Off the bike, Kimille loves, loves, loves being an interior designer. As she has famously said, "What could be better than getting paid to shop?"

Fave 2008 Race Moment? "The excitement and anticipation during the few minutes before the last Team Cup race, when we were really connected and united by our common goal and were finalizing our responsibilities and tactics. Of course, watching it all unfold and come to fruition was sublime. Makes my stomach tingle just thinking about that morning!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

GMSR Stage Race Sept. 4-7 , 2009 Dara Gets Yellow in the 3/4 Field

3 years before I started racing, I heard about the GMSR. I would check it out online, I rode some of the roads, I would hear reports from friends….it was one of the main reasons for me to take up racing. Sentimental, I know…but being there was a dream come true.

Stage 1
The TT was hard. What can I say about a TT? 5.7 miles. Hilly. Headwind. Heart rate. Go. The hardest part was after the crest of the final climb because there was still so, so far to go! After feeling sluggish on the flats because of the headwind, I was surprised to get second place, right behind my teammate Donna McMahon and within seconds of my other teammate in the 3/4 field, Erica . We were fortunate to start the rest of the race with an advantage—something I wouldn’t fully appreciate until later.

Stage 2
There were no surprises in the circuit race—30 miles and only one major climb. The group stayed together until the end, with a point sprint and QOM climb shaking up the pace a bit
As a team, we went into the race with the goal of getting Erica a placing bonus, but the strong headwind foiled our well-intentioned lead-out plans. We finished with the pack, with Donna maintaining her lead in the GC. I was passed by 2 riders and bumped down to 4th and Erica was in 7th place. It wasn’t until reading the results that I began to understand how critical every second was.

Stage 3
The road race seemed like the day that would determine the whole thing. 75 miles, some long climbs, and a very tough finish at the top of a steep Ap Gap. Going in with all three Raddies in the top 10, we hoped to be in any breaks and hoped that we had our climbing legs. The race started at an easy pace in anticipation of the first climb at around mile 20—Brandon Gap. We had a small group of 8-10 riders for the descent and fully expected to keep a break, but we were neutralized for several minutes because of a terrible crash in an earlier race which brought the whole field back. It seemed that the race was coming down to Ap Gap, the steepest, 3 mile-climb. Starting at Baby Gap (the 2.5 mile climb prelude), I sat on Fabienne’s wheel near the back of the pack and was patient. I had confidence in her ability to get to top of the mountain fast (she was QOM after all). Steady as can be, she slowly increased her pace as others dropped off the back. Donna was already out ahead at the 500 meter mark (wow is she STRONG. she won by 22 seconds), when Laura picked it up forcing us to work harder. I had wanted to pass Fabienne close to the finish, but she was too fast for me, pulling away before the line. I felt content with 3rd place, glad that I hadn’t made any mistakes and had done my best.

Stage 4

The criterium in Burlington turned out to be a total surprise. As a team, we thought that we were in a great position to have at least one rider on the podium. I had thought that Donna was unbeatable with her huge 38 second lead. I was very nervous about losing my 2nd place, with Fabienne and other good sprinters just a point sprint away from overtaking me. With a neutral start, I was taken aback when two riders shot to the front (Genevieve Bourgeois, Eva Devinci and Anne-Marie Morin, Garneau Club Chaussures)—in retrospect, it was nice of them to give us a warning that they were planning to go right off the bat. When the car pulled away, so did they and I made sure that I was with them. I didn’t think that a break could stick for the whole race and waited for the field to catch up—and my fellow riders expressed their annoyance with me. I went for all the sprints and after 20 laps finally knew that I had secured 2nd place because of the sprint time bonuses. It didn’t cross my mind that I could win the GC until the announcer talked about how smart my tactics were. Huh? I had no idea what to do! I wondered if I should slow down so that Donna could catch up, but clearly my teammates on the sidelines didn’t think so—I didn’t know where Donna and Erica were or how well they were riding that day and a field sprint at the end seemed risky. My cornering started to improve during the race, but still hurt me for the final sprint. I was over-confident that I had time to pass them after the last turn, but couldn’t do it—regardless, the two other riders had worked hard and deserved the win, and I won the yellow jersey. CRCA riders brought so much to this race—great competition, smart racing, and a reassurance that we were looking out for each other in the pack. Good fun. I can’t wait until next year.

Bear Mountain Road Race 9/13/09 Erica Tames the Bear

Due to some last minute changes, both the women's 1/2/3 fields and the women's 3/4 fields were to be run together and would only be 3 laps, but scored and awarded separately. The field(s) stayed pretty much together on the first series of climbs.

The psychological damage of yesterday's crash was MUCH worse than the physical. I tried to stay as far away from every other rider as possible.  I made it to the top of the climb with the lead group. Despite thoughts of abandoning the race anyway due to my panic, I decided to give the race another lap.

We'd dropped a number of riders already heading into the second lap, but got neutralized for quite a while as we waited for the Men's 5s to pass. We started downhill #2 as a big group again. The pace going up Tiorati was much more controlled, so most of us stayed together.

The 3rd time down the Lake Welch Hill was crowded yet again. Beth Miller came around the corner at or near the front, and hit it really hard going back up the hill. We were instantly strung out, with Dara up the road, Donna a little ahead, and Ashley and I about 10-12 riders back but with a lot of road to cover to cross the gap. Ashley kept a really hard pace going up the hill, and I stayed on her wheel as much as I could. I took solace in the fact that I would have a few seconds to recover before we made the final push up to the front group.

But the solace would not come. Kristen pushed the pace hard in that last hill just after the bridge, and I got gapped. The only riders near me from my field were Annelise Haines from NY Velocity and Nancy Ford from USI, the rest had been gapped. The 2 riders went around me as I tried to catch one of their wheels, but didn't quite make it. I figured we'd just consolidate on 7 lakes drive and paceline in together, since they didn't look like they were going to be able to regain the front group either. But somehow Annelise did. I give her a lot of credit. Nancy and I however came around the turnaround together and despite working together, we were not able to catch them again. But at least we were able to stay ahead of all the rest of the cat 3/4 field.

Going into the final climb to the finish Nancy was in front. Contrary to my usual approach of leading out my competitors, I got on her wheel and just stayed there. If she outsprinted me, so be it, but I wasn't going to make it easy for her. With about 100 meters to go I opened it up and sprinted as hard as I could (for an uphill finish anyway) and crossed the line 1st.

I thought this gave me 2nd place in my field overall, but it turned out that they have given the wrong number to an upstart cat 4 unattached triathlete, who had been up the road all along. I placed 3rd. I was thrilled to finally get a podium spot in a road race.