Saturday, July 11, 2009

50th Fitchburg Longsjo Classic 2009- July 2-5 EVIE BEATS THE PROS!!!

50th Fitchburg Longsjo Classic 2009- July 2-5 ERICA LOVES THE PODIUM!!

FITCHBURG, MASS July 2-5 2009


The TT this year was on a beautiful rolling out-and-back 14.5 mile course that had a slight downward bias on the way out and a corresponding upward false flat on the way back, as well as a long bridge across a lake. The idea was to conserve slightly on the way out, and then really rock it on the way back, which as luck would have it would be into the wind as well. We had a chance to ride it the evening before, which really helped with the pacing visualization.
We woke up to such a major rainstorm that out hotel room sprung a leak. Pessimistically loaded the cars and drove in a blinding rainstorm over to Westminster for the TT. Fortunately there was an overhang under which we could warm up, and even more fortunately, the rain had more or less stopped by the time we had to race.
Dropping off the ramp I couldn't see my 30 second girl at all, and was fearing another blind TT, but within about a half a mile I saw both my 30 and 60 second riders, happy I would have someone to try to chase down after all. I passed the 60 second rider right away, but timed the 30 second catch rather unfortunately for the turnaround. Didn't slow me down too much though, and then I had the dubious honor of having no one else in my visuals for most of the way back. I finally saw my 90 second rider about a mile from the finish and used her to motivate myself to really push it to the end. Finished 100m in back of her, so I knew I'd beaten at least three riders but was thrilled and surprised to hear later that I'd taken 3rd. LOVE my new bike!!!

I had listened to David's advice to wait until after the TT to set up my goals for the rest of the race, so now I knew that above all my goal was to keep my podium spot for GC or move up from there. The first in GC was 40 seconds ahead, which would be difficult to reach unless I could out climb her. Second place was only 12 or so seconds ahead, but even more threatening was the 4th place rider, Jenny Ives from Anthem, who was less than half a second behind me.


The weather was beautiful the morning of the circuit race, which was a welcomed surprise because the forecast had been grim for the whole weekend. The course is a 3+ mile circuit some slightly technical turns into a downhill at the beginning of each lap and a somewhat challenging uphill double "wall" at the end of each lap. We had 7 laps to go. It was so nice to be called up to the front with the top 10, made getting to the line so much less stressful and going into the starting turns a lot less terrifying, along with positioning to start out the race. The field had gotten bunched up again by the time we came around to the bottom of the uphill, I heard a small crash in back of me but it didn't sound major. All of a sudden we hear the announcer saying "The race leader has crashed, the race leader is out!" So just like that I'm second in GC.

I don't plan to go for any of the points (struck laps 6-4-2 to go at the start/finish), in part because I can't seem to get positioned right, but mostly because I wanted to be ready to respond to any attacks that might happen after them. That turned out to be a decent strategy because there were attacks after two of them, and Jenny was quick to respond, but so was the new race leader, so it wouldn't have benefited me much from a GC standpoint for the break to work. I guess others felt kind of the same way so the breaks never really stuck. Plus we kept getting neutralized on the back side because there was an ambulance taking one of the riders of our field away, so other riders caught up then. So it was pretty messy going into the final sprint. My positioning wasn't great yet again, so my goal was just to stay in touch with the front group to get "same time." I guess I jumped on that just in time because I got 10th with the same time as the leaders, and riders in back of me got a 9 second time gap. Fortunately for me, Jenny was one of the riders who got gapped, so I had a bit more margin to play with. Unfortunately for me the rider who had been 5th in GC won the race, and got a 10 second bonus to put her into 2nd place GC, 5 seconds ahead of me. The new race leader took 2nd to push her even further ahead. The old race leader had gotten up and continued to race but she lost about 2.5 minutes on the day.


Another beautiful day for the road race, such a nice contrast to the rain fest last year. Course is an 11mile loops, 1 mile down, 2 miles rolling, 5 miles up, then down again. The setup was a bit different this year than in the past because there would be no finishing climb due to construction on the road up Mt. Wachusetts. Instead, we did an extra half loop to end in Princeton Center near the feed zone, 3 miles or so into the hill. There was no KOM this year,instead there were points each lap at the finish line.

I again chose not to contest points, in hopes of attacking or responding to an attack just after. First time through the finish no one really killed it and most riders stayed together. Second time through however, the race leader went for points, and a few of us tried to get away, but she was way to strong and was able to tuck in with us. We got a good gap on the rest of the group but weren't working together too well, and then Jenny attacked hard on the downhill. I couldn't let that happen, and jumped to get on her wheel, but even the five foot gap she had on me was too much for me to hold it. I have no idea how she was able to descend that fast, it was very impressive. She had widened that gap to about a quarter mile but the time we got to the bottom. The race leader then jumped to get up to her, but the rest of us organized and were able to close the gap as a group. While we were catching our breath a few other riders caught back up from behind. Oh well.
Third lap we lost a few riders as well, but didn't even really make a pretense of working together or trying to stay away, figuring we'd just rely on the hill to separate us at the finish. I took the opportunity to launch my own attack on the rollers at the top, but I was too well marked and didn't make it very far. Jenny tried to attack again into the downhill but I was ready for it this time and got tighter on her wheel (with the pack on mine) and we made it down as a group. About five miles from the finish line we got neutralized by the break in the Master's field. Roger Aspholm had put 7 minutes on the field. They held us up for 4 or 5 minutes before they decided it was pointless or unfair or whatever to hold us any longer. Of course a bunch more riders caught us while we were lollygagging. We did drop them again into the finish but for those hill-climbers battling for the middle part of GC it was a bit of a bummer.

At the 500m to go point it gets really steep and really windy into the final turn up to the finish. One of our group who seemed strong but not necessarily the best climber jumped from the bottom of the hill. The rest of us waited a bit figuring there was no way she could hold it but despite a decreasing gap, she managed to finish 13 seconds ahead of the pack, and 7 seconds ahead of the race leader, who again showed impressive strength by gapping the rest of us into the turn. I finished 10th again with the same time as 3-12, but Jenny had gotten gapped again and lost another 5 seconds, so now I had a more comfortable 15 second advantage over 4th place GC. The race leader had increased her advantage to 22 seconds, while the rider in second finished same time as me, and remained 5 seconds ahead.


Another beautiful day! I had to decide what to do at this point, I no longer had quite the same imperative to just preserve my podium as I was now more than a time bonus ahead of Jenny. The only way to move up in GC would be to get 1st or 2nd today, and the only way to move down would be if Jenny got in a break (or I guess someone even further back, if it were a really big break), or of course if I fell down and couldn't get back up. The pace was pretty high from the start and the field was pretty motivated, so despite a few attacks here and there, nothing was going anywhere. Jenny launched one of her no-longer-surprising downhill attacks on the back side, but this course wasn't long enough and the hill wasn't steep enough for her to really go anywhere. With about 5 laps to go, a rider not too far back in GC launched an attack after a points sprint and kind of to the surprise of the pack, just kept going. She dangled off the front for about a lap, and then with only 4 laps to go actually began to increase her advantage. She probably wouldn't have gained enough of an advantage to knock me out of my GC spot, but I decided that it was more important that we close the gap and preserve my 3rd place than that I try to finish high at the end to go for 2nd, so I tried to bridge up. I was again pretty well marked so I didn't really get separation, but no one came around me either so now we're a little closer to her but not quite there. I tried again with 2 laps to go, and this time the group came around me to help close the gap. So on the positive front, we were able to get her back into the fold, on the negative, I've now been swarmed with less than 2 laps to go. So I'm pretty far back going into the final corner of the sprint, am able to pick up about 10 places in the finish to get an unimpressive 26th place, but that's still the same time as the leaders for this race so...

I PRESERVE THIRD GC!!!! Yay! Podiums are fun!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Radical Media Race Schedule July-September 2009

7/11 Club Race- power points- points on Harlem Hill and Cats Paw every lap

7/12 Union Vale

7/18 Club race- scratch race

7/19 Club Race- Harlem Hill Points race

7/18-7/19 stage race Giro Del Cielo (women cat 3 & 4 only )

7/25 Club Race- scratch race

7/25 Tour of Hill Towns

8/1 Long Medow TimeTrial (part of CRCA Team Cup)

8/1-08/2 Tour of Lancaster County ( women cat 3 &4 only)

8/2 Club Race- Club Championship Race

8/8 Club Race- Scratch Race

8/9 Tokeneke Road Race

8/15 Club Race-Scratch

8/15 NY Capital Road Race (Albany)

8/22 Mengoni – Central Park (cat P,1,2,3)

8/23 Lou Maltese- Central Park (cat 3 & 4 women)

8/29 Chris Thater Criterium

9/4-9/7 Green Mt. Stage Race

9/12 Club Race-Points race

9/13 Bear Mt. Nancy Morgenstern Memorial Road Race

9/18-9/20 Tour of the Catskills stage race

9/26 Club Race- Scratch