Thursday, July 26, 2012

French Broad Cycling Classic report

French Broad Cycling Classic
report by Amanda Watson

Julie and I went to NC this past weekend for the French Broad Classic - a sweet little 3-race omnium that has been on my to-do list for several years. 

Amanda on the 3rd place at the end of the weekend
It started Friday with a 20.5 km Merckx-style (i.e. no aero equipment!) TT along the French Broad River.  We took 5th and 11th in the TT and started preparing for the fun - the 40 mile road race full of beautiful mountains.  Saturday morning we started off the first few miles with steady climbing, followed by fun descents and beautiful NC country-side.  Julie patrolled the front early on and 20 miles into the race came the first big climb, which shattered the field.  3 climbers got away and I managed to grab on for a roller-coaster of a ride to the finish.  They didn't want to give up a single second of our lead and the 4 of us worked a brutal pace-line to the foot of the final climb.  I need a second to breathe but allowed a small gap to open between the others.  I kept the weakest of the 3 in my sights and ended up passing her with about 200 m left, but 2 had gotten away, which left me in 3rd place for the stage.  Julie's chase group did not ease off and came charging up the mountain shortly behind us and she took 12th. 

The last battle was Sunday's criterium in Asheville, which was a rather short, triangular-shaped lap with a descent into a hair-pin turn, followed by an up-hill sprint.  The race was at 1:40 pm, so the temperature was significantly hotter than the previous 2 stages and my legs were feeling it.  The fact that there were tons of primes made it even harder to relax in the pack.  But Julie chased down numerous attacks and I prayed for mercy from above, and that a brewing storm didn't blow in before we finished. The field stayed together until 2 laps remained, and the gambler's prime set the stage for 3 racers to open a tiny gap.  I couldn't muster the strength to bridge up, but managed to get to the front of the pack so that I could take my own line through the wicked turn, and then unleashed every ounce of energy that remained for the up-hill sprint.  I managed to get across the line 4th, which secured 3rd place for the omnium, and Julie came in 12th.  It was a great weekend!!!  :)

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