Cherry Pie Criterium
Women's Pro/1/2/3 (W35+ 123 raced together but picked separately)
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Course had to be modified this year due to permitting issues. The moderate hill was cut in half and the loop in Napa Valley Corporate Park was shortened. So now the course had a short rise, three 90 degree turns, one looping turn and one chicane.
Beautiful sunny day with wind on a few sections of the course
The Hammer (Julia Violich), Ellie (Elise Hazlewood), Chelsea Brown
* Team - Podium finish for Chelsea and Elise
* Personal - Cover attacks and keep pace high with Julia, launch an attack if I felt good
Control the race with Julia. Be aggressive early, cover attacks, if there wasn't a break to try for a leadout train and deliver Chelsea and Elise for a podium
We were all surprised that there was a last minute course change with the hill taken out and that changed our strategy to be more aggressive in the turnaround on every lap. Once the race started, Julia took control keeping the pace high and I just stayed glued to her wheel. Julia stayed near the front and didn't let anything get away. Elise and Chelsea stayed in the pack for the first half. On the first prime (had no idea what we were actually sprinting for), Julia gave me a text book lead out to sprint past Anne Valta from the ThristyBear team, and I won the prime. I noticed I was ahead of everyone and attacked around the turnaround but got caught on the straight away on the back side. Mid way through the race, someone clipped a pedal going around the right hand turn and forced Julia into the grass. But amazingly, 30 seconds later, she was back on the front hammering. For a bunch of laps, I'd pushed the pace up from the bottom of the hill and around the turnaround and Julia would hammer the rest of the course. In the last 1/3 of the race, Ellie attacked a few times and ramped up the pace, stringing the field out. With 2 laps to go, the four of us actually got into a lead out train formation, but with the sketchiness of people not exactly knowing how to corner, the train became more of a blob. With a lap to go, the hammer (Julia) was on the front (again) really drilling it so I decided to jump on her wheel to stay away from any danger. We had at least 3 of us together at the front with 1/2 lap to go, when several riders came around on the right side. As we hit the last 200m I decided to start sprinting hoping that Chelsea or Elise would come around me but unfortunately, right after the last chicane turn (150m from the finish), someone overlapped wheels with their teammate and went down hard with their bike flying sideways taking out Chelsea. There was so much chaos with people going all over the place trying to avoid the crash. I ended up 6th and Elise was 7th in the P/1/2/3s.
* Julia Violich is an ANIMAL!
* Everyone on our team has a lot of firepower and we need to make sure that we are all up in the front on the last lap to avoid danger and be in position for a good finish
* We need to continue to work on communication with each other throughout the race
* The photo says it all. Mikes Bikes controlled the race and looked damn good doing it.
* Burgers, shakes and fries at Gotts Roadside is a MUST after doing this race and then riding 24 miles with Chelsea and Ellie after the race