|mad props to my teammate... here's why||lonefrontranger|
May 6, 2002 7:25 AM
|One of my teammates is very new to bike racing, and already racing at a Cat III (women's) level, which is incredibly hard in Colorado. True she's an "athletic genius" who comes from a very strong running background. But bike racing is a combination of many things, and strength alone doesn't complete the equation.
She won a couple of hillclimb races last year as a neophyte Cat IV, then upgraded to III, although our teammates recommended she wait through some of the crits this spring to gain experience. There aren't any women's III-only or III/IV races here, so rookie IIIs are thrown headfirst into the fray with the likes of Team Diet Rite, Team Rona, the Luna Chix, Clara Hughes and our local 800-lb gorilla the Veritas team.
I have watched for several weekends as my teammate, still new to racing and inexperienced at crits, has gone blow for blow with the cream of U.S. women's elite racing. I watched her go with Alison Dunlap in a breakaway last week, and hang on to finish strong by riding an amazingly smart race.
Yesterday was a flat 1K crit with much crosswind and a couple rough corners, essentially 180 degrees opposite her skills. She rode smart tactically and technically, and I was amazed to see that the Veritas girls had her marked as a dangerous rider. 20 minutes into the race, they established a small break with a couple of their riders and strangled my teammate anytime she tried to bridge, although two other free agents sneaked across. The rest of our teammates were dropped early on, so it wasn't a matter of keeping another team in check.
The break quickly gained a half lap. My teammate fretted as she tried to figure out what to do. Never mind that the rest of the Cat IIIs in the field were dropped (and lapped, some multiple times), she was trying to figure out how to get to the leaders! With 10 laps to go, she made a halfhearted attempt to solo off. We had her wired and I took over the handset and told her "You gotta have conviction - don't go half-assed on the attacks". She sat back, bided her time, and with 3 laps to go she popped out from the backside of the course with a 7 second advantage, riding like a madwoman in what everyone (including the field, which didn't chase) figured was a suicidal attack.
She halved the distance to the break to finish sixth, and it wouldn't have made any difference if she had caught them as she's no sprinter. But that was a brilliant attack, with the presence to do it at the right time, and the conviction to carry it through. It netted her a great result instead of battling a pack of strong sprinters for 20-something place. A lot of good Cat Is and IIs got left behind in that main pack.
|Two words: Girl Power!!!!!!!!!!!!||eschelon|
May 6, 2002 8:48 AM