Myles Standish State Forest Race, April 15, 2012
Category 1/2/3, 11 Starters: Katherine Snell 7th, Julianne Oberle 8th
Category 4, 28 Starters: Elizabeth Cummings 3rd
The Myles Standish Forest race is run on a short, five mile circuit that is about as flat as any road race course ever gets with lots of little rollers with twists and turns to get out of sight quickly in a breakaway. There is a grindy grade up Halfway Pond Rd on bumpy pavement. After some more rollers there is a fast left corner going into a downhill finish.
I initially had a conflict doing the Myles Standish race this year since I usually do Battenkill which would have left me with trashed legs for this race. Given that my fitness is not what it was last year when I finished in the bottom third at Battenkill, I decided to forgo a trip to New York and support the team for Myles Standish.
The Cat 1/2/3 field was another small but strong group like Chris Hinds the previous week. There were three Sunapee gals (Debhony Deihl, Danielle Ruane and Danielle Baron), all of whom are good sprinters and time trialists and could attack and stay away. Also in the field was last year’s winner, Amy Miner (1K to go/Onion River) and Frances Morrison (NCC). Given the field, I was expecting a race with lots of attacks from Sunapee with the possibility of Amy Miner jumping on one and getting away.
I’m still not really organized yet for racing and so I didn’t have may trainer with me which left me doing a less than optimal warm-up around the parking lot. This turned out to be no big deal as we started pretty mellow and stayed that way for most of the race. I set pace for much of the first lap and led the pack across the start/finish for the second lap. As I expected, Sunapee launched an attack once we hit the rollers. The field pulled it back and as expected there was a counter which was also brought back. The attacks came a little harder on the third lap but then the pace slowed significantly heading back into the start/finish after the slog up Halfway Pond Road. I launched a little attack just to test my legs and try to get the pace up again. At the start of the fourth lap, I moved towards the front and noted two Sunapee gals near the back and one on the front and was expecting a race making move from them. Much to my disbelief, no such move ever came, even when I slowed the pace to a crawl.
The last time up the grind was a little tougher but still did not split the field. I recovered and rested a bit for the now certain downhill field sprint. As we came up to the last corner, I was about mid field and saw the opportunity to move up and grabbed the front going through the corner hoping to pull Julianne with me. I had a good gap; however it was still a long way (300-400 m) to the finish and eventually the sprint caught up with me and I held on in a very close finish for 7th. Julianne was right next to me for an 8th place spot. All-in-all, I was reasonably happy with the effort and the only regret I had was not having remembered my computer so I didn’t have any data for a benchmark.
Newly upgraded as a 3, this was only my third 1/2/3 race. The two previous races I was not able to finish with the pack, so that was my goal for the race. There were several very talented and strong racers in the small field. The Sunapee team is a known powerhouse of both watts and racing tactics. They controlled the race for the most part launching several attacks. They attempted to create a break away several times up some of the rollers but nothing was able to stick. Each time the attacks were covered and the group was back together. Katherine Snell and I worked to chase attacks and it worked. Frances Morrison was also working hard to cover all the attacks so no one got away. Going into the final climb up the rollers before the downhill finish they launched a series of several attacks to get their sprinter into position. I covered the first and then ended up in maybe the 5th position heading down the hill after the second attack went off. The fast downhill sprint was a little too scary for me when I ended up blocked and wedged between two sprinting riders. I counted places, realized I was going for 5th and ended up sitting back for safety. Overall, I was pretty happy with the race after having met my goal by being able to race with the group and even cover attacks. I wish I could have gotten into a better position for the finish but I’m still learning. I’m looking forward to the next race already.
With a mixture of excitement and nervousness, I arrived in Plymouth for the Myles Standish State Forest Road Race on Sunday morning, my first race of the season. The weather was great: mid 50s and even a bit of sun towards the end of the race. The women’s 4 field had more than 25 racers pre-registered, so I knew it would be a solid race. The Ride Studio Cafe team had 6 racers and NEBC had 3, so I was in a slightly unfamiliar territory as we’re usually the team with the largest turnout. The pace was pretty fast from the get go, with the Ride Studio Cafe team at the front of the pack. The field rode the first lap pretty much together and during the second lap there were a few attempts at breakaways but nothing that stuck. All of a sudden, a rider from Ride Studio Cafe and one from Arc En Ciel managed to get away from the front of the pack. Working with a rider from Cycle Lodge, I tried to get a pursuit organized, but we seemed to be the only 2 people who wanted to do any work at the front, which got a bit frustrating. The third lap and much of the fourth lap progressed in this same way: trying to get people from different teams to work together to chase down the leaders, a lack of organization, and the gap between us and the leaders increasing. On the back side of the fourth lap, the rider from Cycle Loft, one of the Ride Studio Cafe racers and I finally managed to break away from the chase pack and work together to open up a gap behind us. The downhill finish is a tricky one, so I made sure to be patient and not sprint too early. Once we were past the park ranger and up the short false flat, I went for it and out-sprinted the other two girls. Overall, it was a great day for bike racing and a nice way to start the season.