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Monday, February 12, 2007

... ladies

The crit racing for women this weekend was hard-nosed, aggressive, and a bit bizzare on the tactics front. The outcome was the same for both events. Brook Miller stamped her authority as a huge talent not only in our region, but in all of women's cycling.

Martinez was all about the cash and surviving the big rains. while Sunday's Cherry Pie was all about NorCal bragging rights and surviving Colavita's full squad flaunting their stuff in front of the sponsors.

I've got some pics n' vid to work on ... but for now, thought i'd throw out some hernanadork scribblins on the workplace dime.

- - -

Martinez ~

An early breakaway looked quite formidable with Touchstone's Jill Mclaughlin, Webcor's Amber Rais, Tibco's Brooke Miller, and a cheerwine rider that I believe was Sarah Bamberger. The big team missing out on the move was old McGuire-new-ValueActSomething'or other team of Taitt Sato, Courtenay Brown, and Martina Patella.

The break was rolling along well, but not under a huge amount of urgency or effort ... they were probably already planning how they would finish the race amongst themselves since the makup of the break looked so good ... on paper. It certainly appeared to be the move of the day as the rain pelted down and a disorganized pack drifted rudderless already a quick 30 seconds in arears.

However, Taitt Sato got the bit between her teeth, deciding the money was worth the effort, and pretty much single-handedly drove the pack for 3 or 4 laps to bring the break within' spitting distance.

It was an impressive show.

There were some shorter lived moves of ones and twos throughout the entire race, each team sending forays off the front to gather primes or feint at breakaways ~ but the rains would slap down in heavy spats to squelch out fires of anything less than full-effort.

With a handful of laps remaining, the pack was still together when a particularly hard fought prime by ValueAct's Brown and a Cheerwine rider found the two with a substantial gap over the soaked, road grimed pack. The two riders sensed this was a move worth digging for and put their heads down in cooperation to extend their lead.

Velo Bella's Mary Maroon saw the danger and launched viciously off the front to bridge the already growing gap on the field. A Tibco rider attempted to follow but wasn't able to latch onto Maroon and faded back to the pack. Maroon dug hard. Haaaaarrd, and got across to the lead duo. With lapcards already showing, this had to be the move of the day.

But, strangely enough ... Touchstone put a rider to the front and she drilled it with everything she had to bring back the break. I don't think Tibco did much work at all in bringing back that move. What a luxury! And so, with arguably one of the fastest sprinters in the country and a rider not in the break, Tibco was able to ride a climbing team's wheel all the way back to winning contention. Bizaare tactics, indeed!

With Touchstone only having two riders in the race, one would have thought they would shoot off in attacks to try and bridge across to the break. Even if they were chased, at least their rivals would have to work as much as they were.

But instead, Touchstone just went to the front and churned huge pull after pull, bringing back the break while Tibco and the other Cheerwine and ValueAct riders sat behind for tea and biscuits.

In the final couple of laps it was a fight for position with the Tibco and Cheerwine teams driving hard to position their sprinter best. As the crowds leaned far over barriers to see the riders come up the long finishing straightaway, the rain continued to fall and blur the vision as to which team would hold advantage. With 75 meters to go, there were 3 or 4 riders clear and it was evident the victor would come from one of them. The pale blue of Miller's Tibco kit could be seen up the outside of the street while Bamberger's blood red Cheerwine kit was pinned to the inside barricades.

The final meters were a hectic rush as the riders burst clearly into focus and roared out of the falling rain. Miller was pounding a huge gear and accelerating with every wrroooshh-wrrooosh of her powerful pedalstrokes. Bamberger began to fade with just a few meters remaining as Miller stormed across the line, near a bike length lead when all was said and done.

What a finish.

- - -
mo' latah, yo.


Velo Bella said...

I dont think that was Sarah

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

oh, did she have the pedal malfunction?

le oops.

note to self: always check with the better half first.

Ippoc Amic said...

that sprint was just incredible

marscat said...

great write-up OV,

Steven Woo said...

Is that you on the far right?

After I got permission to put it on I didn't have the heart to crop you out of the image to make it fit.

lauren said...

that's a great write up! makes me feel like i was almost there.

almost makes me miss racing...

Courtenay said...

yeah, it was kelly b.

thanks for the race reportage. much better synopsis than anything i could have remembered OR written!

banks said...

Great report. Almost wish you'd sit out geezer races so you could do arms length reporting like this and give me a little more insight on what to do and not do during a race. Except having you and the bag boys putting pressure on the field makes the race a lot more fun.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

So thaaaaaaaaaat's what happened...