Road Race (9/6):
After 5 women broke from the pack at about the 1/3 mark, they worked to put a huge gap on the field to take away any chance of the rest of the field from getting on the podium. With about 17Km to go, and after several attacks on the penultimate climb, they were able to whittle the field down to 4 riders and not long after that down to three. With the top 3 spots secured, they hit the final climb to the entrance to Mt. Bachelor ski resort. The final three girls were spread out and suffering up the climb to the finish. Stephanie Gonzalez ultimately pulled away and won with Marley Smith finishing second and Lucia Mokres in third.
The women’s 35-39 was first to kick off. There were 12 in the field. Marley set the pace for about 2/3’s of the race as it was clear no of the other women wanted to sniff the front even though the field was tiny. Very negative racing and was a great disappointment to watch. Marley worked her tail off again, trying to keep things fast and trying to get the other girls off of her wheel because most of them were never going to actually race. At times, the speed was no more than 12mph, almost like a track match race. It was pretty frustrating. Marley finished off the podium after trying several times to make it so fast they couldn’t get around her.
The women’s field was larger than years past which also included a strong field of riders including Alison Tetrick, Mary Maroon and several NorCal women’s teams in full force including Folsom/Bike Cervelo. We had 5 riders at the start and plans to be aggressive throughout the race which included three laps and 72 miles. Nothing significant happened to the base of the climb on lap one until I noticed a large sound coming from my rear wheel, a mechanical. Bad luck, bad timing. An acceleration was just getting started as the hill pitched up and I suddenly found myself on the side of the road with the follow vehicle. It took roughly three minutes to make a wheel change and I was chasing up the climb. Danielle Haulman from Folsom Bike waited on the climb to help me chase back on, great teammate! I however was in panic mode as I quickly reached the top of the hill, made my way down the hill and chased back on to the main field. That was close!
The race ensued and fell into a pattern of individual riders attacking and riding off the front solo for a few miles, an immediate chase if the rider attacking was a threat to the field or could possibly stay away, or in multiple situations a neutralization of the field by the moto referee because we were colliding with a men’s field. This was very frustrating because it also gave riders from our field that had been left behind, time to catch back on. It wasn’t until after the attack over the top of the climb on the third lap had our field come down to a selection of roughly 20 riders. The final ten miles was a combination of attacks and a long effort by Susanna Breen of Folsom Bike who tirelessly attacked and rode off the front until we approached the final few miles of the race. The final 1K was fast and I found myself in bad position with only a few meters to go and boxed in at the center line. Center line rule was in effect through the finish. I already knew in my head I should have moved up sooner and the 200 m sprint was seconds away, too late. I jumped up and gave the final effort I had in my legs to sprint to the line and finished 7th. It was hard to swallow after winning the Winters race the previous two years but I was so proud of the hard work all of my teammates had done throughout the race that I was more pleased with how we raced than our result. We were definitely the most aggressive team out there that day and everyone contributed.