Chico Stage Race
Sat/Sun Mar 22/23
Elise with co-authors Shelagh & Andrea
Paskenta Hills RR: 1 x 45 mi loop with some rollers, and 4 miles of gravel. Crit: downtown Chico L-shaped 6 corners with good pavement. TT: Flat, 10 miles with 2 right turns
clear, warm in the 70’s
Shelagh & Andrea
* Team - Collective strong finishes, primes in the crit
* Personal - Podium!
Work with teammates and other less represented teams to cover attacks. Get to the front before the gravel. Work on communicating with each other throughout.
RR: 10 min before our start we found Cesar who saved the day! and dialed in my shifting a bit better so at least my gears were not skipping all over the place anymore. Phew! We were as ready as we could be in our matching Capo kits (many teams didn’t have kit yet) and our gravel ready tires, especially Shelagh with her new Roubauix tires. Glad we had Osmo to keep us hydrated as it was fairly warm at the start. Most teams had 2-4 riders, only Metromint had 8. Not long after the race started, there was an attack or 2 from the mints. Andrea was at or near the front for a fair bit of the race early on, helping with the pace and covering attacks, and generally looking very comfortable. I took a few turns at the front and covered some attacks as well. I drifted towards the back for a while and there was danger! One of Shelagh’s safety pins had opened itself and was pointing menacingly towards anyone who came near her. Perhaps a good tactic but we tried to free it - unsuccessfully however. As we hit the rollers things started to heat up a bit in the pack and more attacks were going off and the pace picked up overall quite a bit. I found myself near the front. Somewhere in here but unbeknownst to me, Andrea dropped her chain, not once but twice, ugh, and the quick pace on the rollers did not bode well for catching back. The group hit the bumpy section of road so I knew we were nearing the gravel at mile 37. I fought to stay near the front, and was able to follow a wheel up right before the gravel started. I hit the gravel straight on and time stood still for a second. I did not have anyone in front of me so quickly got moving and made it to the top of the mini hill first and kept going hard for what seemed like a while, but probably wasn’t. Several caught up, some passed but I didn’t move quickly enough to join. Also during this time Shelagh was successfully conquering her fear of the gravel. By the end of the gravel, if not before, the field was totally shattered. I got onto the pavement with 4 others, and we had 4 up the road initially in 2 groups of 2 but later noticed the last 2 had split up. I convinced our little group to work together and we started a rotating pace line and gaining some time back. (It was a bit interesting as 3 in our group had teammates up the road. We actually caught 1 person, a Mint around 1K to go or maybe 500 to go, and the teammate felt bad and hung back so as not to finish ahead of her, while the rest of us went around her.) My finish still needs some work as I came in 7th here. Before long Shelagh flew across the finish line as well.
Crit: The race was only 30 minutes. I was psyched to race my Roval wheels for the first time. I clipped in right away and after a few pedal stokes seemed to be at the front so took control and got going. Andrea got in the mix on the front early as well and took the first prime at lap 2 or so. I stayed near the front and tried a few times to get away or bridge up to a few with a small gap but nothing stuck. Coming into the last lap I was still in decent position but knew I needed to move up a bit. Andrea appeared at some point during the last lap and I was stoked to see her! Lead out potential? She moved herself into a great spot maybe 4th wheel or so, and we came around the 2nd to last corner and ugh - there was a crash with Andrea and another gal. I was able to avoid it and ended up crossing the line 6th. After we made sure Andrea was ok, and bandaged up, she picked up her prime of huge container of jelly bellies and giant lollipops. Through all of this Andrea never stopped smiling. And she was still in for the TT!
TT: We had driven the course the night before so knew what was coming. Pre-TT we collectively helped get Andrea’s wounds clean and covered, and moved her numbers onto a non-ripped jersey, all the while thinking what an amazing spirit our teammate has! Pre-TT I was in 5th GC. Unfortunately my TT was not fast enough - I blame the non-TT bike. Several people did have speedy bikes, some disc wheels, etc. I was demoted to 10th GC however, Shelagh rocked it in her first TT ever and moved up several places up to 12th GC. Andrea put in a solid performance as well.
* When Shelagh gets a TT bike she is going to be unstoppable.
*After seeing how well our 4’s did in a largely 3’s field, I don’t think it will be long before they move up in the ranks.
* Protect your front wheel!
*If you lose contact with the group for whatever reason, don't hesitate to get back to them asap - don't assume you will be able to chase back on.
*Consider investing in a k-edge chain catcher.
*After getting to know each other this weekend, both on and off the bike, it is looking like a great season ahead!
*Chico is an awesome event - very well run, fast posting of results, would definitely do it again.