With nothing better to do Memorial Day, I decided to venture down to Somerville…
Women’s Development Team Race Report
Tour of Somerville, May 28, 2012
Katherine Snell, 49th out of 65? Starters, 49 finishers
The Tour of Somerville is the oldest race in the country and I’ve always wanted to do it except that until last year it was Pro/1/2 only. My schedule did not allow for KSR this year but I decided that Somerville would be an excellent substitute.
The course is a flat, classic four corner criterium around a city block with the start finish on Main Street. The blocks are almost a mile long with the start/finish near the end of the block, making for a potentially long finish sprint. The streets of the course were also recently paved, making it considerably safer than the crash ridden, pothole obstacle course it has been known for.
The trip down to Somerville was fairly uneventful and took about 5 hours. I arrived with plenty of time for check-in and warm-up. Given the heat (90F), I did not warm up too intensely not wanting to get dehydrated or overheated before the start. My expectations were that with a few good teams, Laura Van Gilder and a flat course that the pace would be very fast and racing would be pretty aggressive. My main goal was to survive and finish the race so I planned to be conservative. The field was pretty big with 65 women pre-registered so after getting off the trainer and doing a quick course recon, I headed to the staging area. I managed to get in the second row so I had a little cushion at the start.
As usual, the race started quickly but not excessively so, and we seemed to be all together after the first few laps. The main issue was that the large field did not corner well and I was forced to use the brakes heading into turns and then sprinting out. This lack of bike handling amongst the field was a harbinger of things to come. At about 5 laps in there was a fairly good attack coming out of turn 2 that shed some riders but in general the attacks were not particularly aggressive and it was relatively easy to maintain position even during prime sprints. Around the middle of the race, the pace slowed dramatically and I was able to move from the back to the front and did most of the lap on the front. Despite the effort, this was almost easier than dealing with the loss of momentum through the turns. I did end up moving back to mid-field again with about 5 to go and started to work my way back up. I had decent position heading out of turn 4 with almost 2 to go but then there was a crash right in front of me. I was almost able to swing around but caught the edge and went down on my right side. Although I didn’t hit too hard, I was shocked enough that I was pretty light headed and riding was out of the question anyways since my front tire was flat. I sat down for a couple of minutes and then walked back to the start/finish rather dejected and annoyed. Just to make sure the officials knew my status, I checked in at the line and some how got credit for finishing when I checked the results. Fortunately, my injuries were relatively minor – no broken bones but did get some road rash and a severely banged up toe along with waking up the next morning to discover some bruised ribs and a sore neck.
Takeaways: The pace was fast but well within my capability and I probably would have finished somewhere in the upper 50% and maybe upper third which means I’ll probably end up going back next year for a re-match. Maybe with teammates?