Saturday, July 18, 2009

Giro del Cielo July 18 & 19, 2009- Dara Kiese On the Podium Again

Giro del Cielo Saturday, July 18, 2009 - Sunday, July 19, 2009 Dara Loves the Podium!

Time Trial

The TT was a gradual, uphill course through the woods. After going back and forth, I decided not to use clip-on aero bars because I’ve never used them before and because I didn’t think that they would help much with the hills. I made it to the start line with 3 minutes to spare—feeling ridiculous in my skin suit and with a lens missing from my glasses— 3 minutes to stand in line in front of Deb Killman thinking about her passing me during the TT. I couldn’t clip in and tried not to panic for the 20 seconds or so into the ride pausing to clip…no…pause…click… .No…pedal…click… whew.

Evie’s advice was to go all out from the get-go. I had had a good warm up on my trainer and went. I saw Corinne ahead and looked back to see Deb about the same distance behind me. The course was more gradual than I expected. I followed Ashley’s advice to take advantage of my ability to hammer on the flats while other people rested. I kept thinking that Deb was clicking her gears behind me, but didn’t look back. I realized that it didn’t matter where she was…all I could do was my own race. I seemed to settle into a sustainable level of effort and kept going—mashing on the pedals at about 70 rpms—too low! Eventually, I passed Corinne (whew…she’s fast) and while she could chat with me, I could only shrug or bark incomprehensible responses. I started getting tired and looked down to see that there was only .6 miles left…I kept it going…stood up near the end…and wheezed on top feeling good about my ride.


The crit was just a few hours after the TT…not enough time to bask in the glory of a win, in my opinion. I didn’t really think out a plan or anticipate how it would play out. It seemed simple…try to get away with Deb and Peta. I planned to try for the prime points at lap 18 (out of 30) and didn’t care too much about the swag primes. Someone in the Cat 4 race crashed on the final lap minutes before we started and it freaked me out a bit about getting squeezed at the corners. The field was pretty small—19, I think. Betty attacked over and over and some others tried to attack and I was able to be there every time. Unfortunately, no breaks stuck…they just spread out the field until we all slowed down. I didn’t pay attention to the lap counter and missed the points prime completely (one lesson learned). I sat on Peta’s wheel thinking that I was saving my energy while they were all working so hard. Deb won it, got 8 points and was now leading in the GC. At the final lap, I thought that someone was attacking and I went for it. Deb was with me for a little while and then I think that she slowed down. I’m not sure what happened. I considered my options to slow down and do the mass sprint or to keep going and hope for the best. I was really tired by the halfway point, but the sprinters waited until after the final corner to start passing me.

Road race (6 times around a 5.5 mile circuit)

I went into this race with a bad attitude wondering which strategies I was clueless about, but should inherently know. I wanted to win, but thought it unlikely. Then I realized that all I needed to do was get 3rd to maintain my 3rd in the GC. Seemed possible. Or even better…beat the #2 and get second. The only way to get 1st overall was to win with Deb flatting. I rode a warm up lap alone. The roads were pretty, the terrain rolling…it was just the sort of riding I like. At the start of the race, Alaina (#3) was pushing the pace and trying to convince Deb to go—within the first 2 miles. Deb didn’t go for it and we all followed Alaina…happy to tire her out.

The race really came down to one section of rollers—where people pushed the pace—and the climb before the finish, and the sprint. The rest of the time, we rode as slowly as possible. There was no reason for the 3 of us to shake it up and everyone else grumbled but didn’t spice it up too much.

The second lap was a points prime and Deb advised me to go around the final corner at the front. Another climber attacked, Deb and I got on and we went hard until the line. I was on Deb’s wheel until I realized…hey! I can go faster than this! I went around and Peta went around on the other side. Peta and I crossed the line at almost exactly the same time, but apparently I was a few inches ahead. Most importantly, Deb and Alaina didn’t get points. The rest of the race seemed uneventful….a few short attacks, but I was able to be there.

At the final lap, I looked around and realized that I had been pushed to the back…I squeezed between riders and a mailbox and got better positioning. I’m finally learning how to vie for positioning early for the finish. Alaina and I traded off on Deb’s wheel. Edie attacked and Deb and I got on her wheel to stay near the front. We rounded the final corner and I found myself in the midst of the pack again. Riders started attacking on the steep climb and I stayed in the mix. I think that there was a pause in the intensity for a few seconds…then people starting sprinting…I started sprinting…we got close and I kept going until I passed everyone for the line! The slight uphill in the sprint was an advantage to me because I’m more power-horse than agile spinner.

I came in 2nd overall, losing by 4 points to Deb who raced consistently strong and smart throughout.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Union Vale July 12, 2009 Dara Kiese wins Cat 4 Race!

Union Vale, July 12, 2009 Dara Has the Race of Her Life

I had one goal in this race: to win. I didn't care about trying out strategies; spicing it up, the scenery...I wanted a straightforward, un-dramatic win. But it turned out to be little more complicated- -after all, it wasn't a solo ride.

We got going at a comfortable pace and I was pretty good at letting everyone else do the work. I thought that the real race would be on the long climb at the finish and for the first few miles, it seemed like they all had the same idea. Then we were on a gradual, steady climb--with Emily at the front and me on her wheel--when she started picking up the pace ever so slightly. I thought that I was giving her guidance when I said.... you don't need to pick it up so much take it easy.... Well, despite my pleas, she decided to go at about 5 miles in--I commend her for it now, but at the time I let out a little: "nooooo!"

I was so shocked at her chutzpah that when others started to talk about catching her, it didn't even occur to me that I should slow everyone down because she's my teammate. I didn't budge because I thought that there was no chance that she could sustain a break for 25 miles and still have something left for the final climb. It took me a moment to realize that my stubbornness was helping her--hooray! The others started to chase and I stayed with them without ever going to the front. It took them a little while to organize their pace line around me; I just hung out and didn't let them leave me behind. I spent the time wondering what the riding etiquette would be in that situation. While I was thinking etiquette, Emily was adding life to the race, tiring out our competitors and thinning out the front group! Nice job, Emily! (And a podium finish, to boot)

Anyway, after we caught her, Carolyn Gaynor and a rider from Kissena spiced it up with some attacks. I picked up the pace a couple of times, but generally just stayed near, but not on the front. My front tire went flat at mile 21 and I was gutted. I was totally rude to the nice wheel van man. When I complained to him that I had wanted to win this race, he said: maybe you still can if you hurry up. If he hadn't said that, it wouldn't have occurred to me to give it a try.

I caught a nyvelocity rider and we took turns pulling with my HR higher than I thought I could sustain for 5 miles. I couldn't believe it when we reached the pack, and still never imagined that I might actually have a shot at winning. I didn't think that I had anything left but tried to catch my breath during the mile before the final climb. Carolyn and the Kissena rider got away about a half-mile before the hill. I didn't do too much to chase them, but got worried when we reached the start of the climb and they were at least 50 meters ahead. We slowly closed the gap, dropping the other riders along the way. Finally, Lindsey and I passed them at a steady pace until I saw a sign that I mistook for the finish. I stood up and left Lindsey to cross what turned out to be only the 200-meter mark. OOF. I looked back and knew that I had it, but stood up again for the finish because it seemed like the right thing to do.

Finally, I had my first win. The first win of any real race in my life.

Union Vale July 12, 2009 Emily Maynard Places Top 3 in the Cat 4 race!

Union Vale, NJ July 12, 2009 Emily Maynard another natural joins Radical Media for a top 3 place.

My goal for the race was just to feel more comfortable in a pack and to try to anticipate breaks. It was comforting to be riding with Dara and to hear her advice from time to time, or to just see her nod at me when we were near each other.

We were on a long uphill on the first lap, nearing the top but still with the crest to go, and I decided to have some fun with it and attack. To my surprise, my attack stuck! And I just kept pushing it and pushing it and kept the break for a few miles. I knew that it was a foolish move because it was so early in the race and there was no way that I could sustain it (much as I'd to incarnate Evie), but I also felt like "What the heck! I'm only a beginner once!'" :) I can make all the silly mistakes I want to now and figure out things in the meanwhile. Besides, when else am I going to get the chance to feel what a break is like? It gave me some satisfaction that it took the group a while to catch up with me, and at least I shook up the race a bit! I think that the group broke into two at this point but I'm not sure...

So after that I just hung back and avoided pulling or doing any effort. There were a few short breaks from time to time but nothing that the front group couldn't pull back. The big event of the middle of the race was Dara's flat at mile 21 (of 30); Colleen told her she could use her wheels but Dara disappeared for about 5 miles and then all of a sudden she was there again, before the build-up to the end.

During the last half of the race, everyone seemed to be holding herself back in order to have enough energy left for the big hill. About a mile or so before the final hill Caroline from Proasshit and a Kissena woman broke away from the front group and we let them go; no one wanted to sprint to catch them so close to the end. At the beginning of the hill I was sure to position myself in front because I didn't want to have to wind my way around people falling back. I took the hill really steadily and was in 4th for most of it; Dara, Lindsay from Velocity, and Caroline were ahead for most of the way. I knew that Dara and Lindsay were too far for me to catch them but Caroline started to drop back and I pulled up behind her and passed her at about 300M. My father-in-law was right there and he kept yelling at me so I started to get out of my seat at 200M and had a bit of a sprint finish (it probably didn't look like that, but it sure felt that way!). I was sure that Caroline was going to catch me at the last minute but I stayed ahead of her and took 3rd!

Union Vale July 12, 2009 Donna McMahon Races for Radical

Union Vale NJ 1,2,3 race report by our new rider Donna McMahon

The race was amazing. Maria spent a lot of time either in the front setting the pace or blocking the wind for Ashley or me. She was riding really strong! Ashley was riding the hills looking strong and helped me out as well and offered advice throughout the race. Thank you both!

After one of the long downhills, Ashley and about 5 others broke away. The women in my group tried to pace line back and when it was my turn to pull, I didn't pull hard or long so that I could try to keep the group from catching Ashley's group. But Ann Marie Miller is so strong and she was the main one who pulled the group back to the breakaway.

As the up hill finish approached, Beth Miller, Yvette, and Ann Marie went ahead a little. As I was riding up this hill I realized I started getting a little closer to Ann Marie and Yvette and then passed them. As soon as I did that, Ann Marie surged passed me and this went back and forth a couple of times! I ended up burning my last matches :-( by doing this and they got a little lead on me. With about 300 meters to go, Kristen passed me. I gave whatever I had left at the end to make sure I kept 5th place. That was a great race. Hard course and I loved every second even when the pain was so intense!!!! But that's why we do this! :-)

I learned that I should've been a little more patient/consistent on that last up hill and I believe I would've had more left at the end.

Radical Media rocked at Union Vale!

Union Vale July 12, 2009 Ashley Prine Rides Again in Cat 1,2,3

Union Vale, NJ July 12, 2009

I had not done the is race in 2 years and was excited to see if my memory was correct of the course- mostly rolling with some hills that could be made to be hard- but with a pesky downhill that make breaks hard to stick… memory correct!

Maria set pace for the race on the first 2 laps and put in a few attacks working her butt off for Donna and I. The first 2 laps were nice and steady with the start of the end of the second lap getting a bit spicy with an escapee Anthem girl on the downhill and a nice attack by Maria at the start of the third- here we go!

My legs were feeling loose after a very stiff first lap, but I was breathing great and climbing pretty well- Anna M. attacked at the top of the feed zone climb to string us out a bit popping some girls off the back- then soon after in flat section Donna put in an attack and I countered- Audrey came after me pulled around and we then had a counter from Anthem- so fun fun!

So Anthem kept it spicy all the way to the fast down hill when 5 of us got a break on the downhill. It was a good one: Anna M, Beth Miller, Audrey, Yvette and I- we were missing just one person….. Ann Marie Miller! We pace lined and were doing our best to stay off the front for the final lap but Ann Marie dragged a few back up to us- thankfully Donna was with her! - We were about a group of 10-12- so we slowed down and took it easy a bit before the climbing started again- we got passed by the pros so that made the feed zone hill confusing but Anna M. attacked at the top. For some more spicy attacks on the hills- I was just trying to conserve what I had left for the finish.

The last selection stayed together going into down hill- some girls got a bit of a gap including Beth Miller who won- she started the hill first- the finishing climb for me was hard- I lost it a bit but finished 8th- but was reassured to see Donna up the road finishing strong!! For 5th place- Fun racing yesterday!