Bariani Road Race
Bariani road race this year was very hot and very busy with our combined P/1/2/3 field containing around sixty riders. Last year it was incredibly windy and rainy, making for very tough conditions and a shattered field. This year was completely different; wind was low and we knew that breaks would be difficult to stick given the flat nature of the course. Six of us lined up for the 3pm start: Diane, Liz, Senders, Melanie, Amy and me. Sara let us stay over with her in Sacramento after racing Land Park the previous day, which was super fun and convenient. Since we knew that breaks were unlikely, our plan was to hold off on attacking until the latter half of the race and then formulate a leadout train in the last kilometre or two while I conserved energy for the sprint.
Bariani consists of three 13.7 mile loops, flat except for rollers followed by a slight uphill leading into the finish. Centerline rule was enforced until the final straight so we made sure to move to the front as quickly as possible to prevent missed moves. We had a tailwind on the first straight, then we took a right turn on the overpass before another right turn onto a slightly bumpy section with a headwind. Positioning was vital here: attacks were likely and it is always safer to be further up. Melanie, Sara and Diane put in some powerful attacks that were chased down mainly by singles such as Liza Rachetto of Hagens Berman, Lisa Cordova from Cycle Sport, and Clarice Sayle & Amanda Seigle from Jakroo. JLVelo also had a strong showing of 20+ riders.
Melanie put in a very strong attack in the rollers which nearly led to separation but was brought back by the large field. The first part of Lap 2 wasn’t too eventful, although four of us did get a bit of an echelon going in the crosswind. There were a few attacks but it was clear that nothing was going to stick. Unfortunately, ~27 miles into the race there was a big crash which took down around twelve riders including Amy. Some riders managed to chase back on but there were some pretty bad injuries. Hope everyone is okay and healing well!!
Attacks died down on the last lap and the pace was very slow leading into the rollers. Then Melanie and Diane launched a series of attacks along with Sara and Liz. It was getting quite crazy as everyone scrambled to chase and a small group nearly got away. We rounded the final corner with only a few riders shed, but everyone was much more tired so attacking had been a smart more. After the turn was a 1.7 mile slight uphill stretch with a bit of a tailwind. I was meant to get on Sara’s wheel but somewhere along the way I got caught up with other riders and got stuck at the back. Diane rode super strong at the front while Melanie and Liz got on her wheel. I was surrounded on both sides and realized that I had to get out if I wanted to contest the sprint. There were no gaps for me to jump in so I had to brake and come out the back and to the right of the pack. I pulled up till I was around fourth wheel back, but I was stuck to the side with no draft. Sara was just about to help me when I saw Sandra Freeman (JLVelo) come shooting up the right side. I jumped on her wheel and stayed there until the finish was within reasonable distance, then pulled to her left and continued that long, long sprint that seemed to go on forever! Liza Rachetto very very nearly passed me at the finish but I managed to barely hang on. Close behind was Lisa Cordova and Nicole Pressprich (Audi) followed by Sandra Freeman.
Although our leadout train didn’t quite work–completely my fault–it was fun to try new tactics and, apart from Amy’s bad luck :(, it was a good day. Melanie, Diane, Sara, Liz and Amy did a great job tiring out the rest of the field and helping me with positioning. I have a lot to work on but I’m very excited to continue the season with this awesome team. It was great that we had such a large field and it’s clear that races and tactics are playing out differently than last year with the size and strength of various teams. Thank you to Sacramento Golden Wheelmen and Bariani for hosting such a great event. Now onto the next race–San Dimas begins next Friday!!