Sophia, Lauren, Kristie and I raced the 2nd annual Women’s Woodstock Cycling Grand Prix this past weekend. We wanted to be a part of the excitement around a women’s only race.
There were nine category 3 riders, the race was 48 miles, and we were mixed in with the 40+ and 50+ racers. Considering the course finishes on a slight downhill I knew my best chance of doing well meant launching an offensive attack during the early climb on Ohayo Mountain Road. Kristie and I discussed that strategy before the race, figuring she would follow my attack along with a few other riders. One of the category 3 racers from Stan’s No Tubes, Cassie M., won Battenkill so I figured she’d follow the attack, too. I executed at the base of Ohayo. All went according to plan and Kristie, Cassie, another category 3 rider, a 40+ rider and I started working immediately to keep our gap.
I attacked again at the base of Mead’s Mountain Road, the QOM mountain, but got passed by Cassie. Despite that, I loved being cheered on by the monk near the Tibetan monastery. That was a sublime moment. I didn’t let Cassie get out of my sight and after descending the other side of Mead, Kristie and I were able to bridge up to her. We lost the other two riders so the three of us worked together. About 3 kilometers before the finish, the moto official alerted us that the chase group was 30 seconds behind us so we ramped it up a bit. With about 1.5 kilometers to go, he returned and said we now only had an 18 second gap. We really ramped it up then—-thanks Kristie for yelling to me to get on your wheel. Cassie took the win but I got 2nd and Kristie 3rd.
What worked: I had a plan, executed it and it worked. We wasted no time getting to work taking pulls to ensure a solid lead. Those of us in the lead communicated well and helped each other with the pace line. Kristie and I communicated and worked well together.
What can be improved: The three of us in the lead got too comfortable and we should have worked slightly harder. If the moto didn’t alert us to the chasing group closing in, we could have gotten screwed during the final kilometer.
From Sophia: After getting dropped on the first real climb, I leapfrogged chase groups. The prayer flags and Tibetan monks at the top of the killer climb made for a beautiful delirium of swirling rainbow colors. Working with C-Lo of StansNoTubes and Cris of Kruis CX p/b Repucom, I managed to slip past them in a sprint at the end to a 7th place finish. Lauren Buechner posted a strong 15th place finish out of 31 finishers in the W4 field.
Back to Melissa: Shout out about what a great race this was. So much support, neutral support tent, gorgeous environment, attention to all details, tables of food and swag. All women should race this – Please put it on your calendar for next year!