Report by Amanda E
Tour of Washington County Kick-Off Crit
The kick-off crit began at 8:15pm and was a fun course withfour 90 degree turns and a chicane leading into a quick little hill. The field was very competitive and had lotsof attacks from the get go. I quicklylearned that I needed to be towards the front of the pack, for fear of gettinggapped in the turns. This was difficultbecause all of the women were vying for a spot towards the front of the field,so it was constant work to move back into position. There were a few attempted break-aways butthe field ultimately stayed together for a field sprint. Ali Ingram (Velocita) rode a great race andtook the win. Leslie and I finished 9thand 11th respectively.
Tour of Washington County Stage Race
We began the stage race on Saturday with a 37 mile roadrace. It was a hilly 6.1 mile loop andhad two significant finishing climbs. The race started out very gradually with few attacks. There were a couple of times when the pacewas raised significantly on the hills, but there were no attempted break-aways. Since the field was staying together I knew Ihad to fight for a good position on the first finishing climb, which wasfollowed by a fast descent and the final climb. When we got to the climb I pushed up along the outside towards the frontof the pack and was in a great spot for the descent but then my legs just gaveout. I managed to crest the hill, pass afew racers and finish 12:50 seconds behind the leader (Ainhoa from ARBT) for 18th.
On Sunday we woke up before the sun to prepare for the tenmile time trial about 10 minutes away in Boonsboro. Getting to the course was a bit stressfulbecause we didn’t have very good directions, so when we finally parked it wasjust a little over an hour until my start time. Dan Netzer (Celerity Cycling) was courteous enough to allow me thepleasure of using his HED powertap disc for the TT as I did not have a properrear wheel for my TT bike. The coursewas a 10.1 mile out and back with about 600ft of rolling elevation gain. The first leg was 5.2 miles with a slighttailwind, and the 4.9 mile return leg in return had a headwind, with the last2km or so being an uphill into the headwind. My legs were feeling the road race from theday before and with not much warm up time prior to the start I struggled to getmy heart rate up. I had to keep tellingmyself that everyone else was probably hurting some too, and after finishing 15thin the time trial I was able to move up in the GC from 18th to 16th. Ali Ingram (Velocita) took the stage winand moved into 1st in the GC.
Immediately we returned to the hotel to eat a second breakfast, and put the legs up before the third and final stage, acriterium. The course consisted of 6turns with an uphill finishing stretch and a fast downhill into turn three onthe back side of the course. The kickerwas the last turn was a 100 degree turn where if you weren’t in the front, youwere on the brakes and then sprinting up the finishing stretch, which not tomention had a significant head/ cross wind, which turned to a headwind afterturn one. This race was similar to thekick-off crit in the realm of tactics; it was all about position. If you were towards the back you were gettinggapped, plain and simple. I knew thisbefore going into the race and that it would make or break my race because mylegs were exhausted from the repeated punishment I have put them through overthe past 48 hours. I fought to stay uptowards the front, but after a few times of being pushed to the back Istruggled to hang on and ended up finishing 16th, but lost a lot oftime, and ended up sliding down to 19th in the GC. Ali Ingram (Velocita) won the crit andmaintained her first place standing in the GC. Stephanie Swan (Pro Bikes -Pittsburgh Racing Team) raced strong and came in second in the GC. It was a great weekend of racing with anawesome group of talented women. Lookingforward to going back next year!