Blottette version, women’s C grade, by Anna MacKay
Well the women’s road race saw the same race conditions as Paul has described above-wet and windy. The 51km road race set off in rain, however within 10min the rain stopped and just left its trail of destruction with wet roads that left nasty spray back from fellow wheels. At least it felt like it was a disadvantage for those wheelsuckers who refused to pull a turn at the front and instead left about four of race to lead the race the majority of the way…but at least it was dry at the front. Three laps ensued, with KOM and sprint points to be obtained throughout the race, all of which I managed to obtain myself. Liz kindly gave me a lead out for the intermediate sprint, but it proved somewhat in vain as nobody seemed highly interested in giving it any real contention..either that or Liz and I were just too fast for them to bother! 😉 The sprint to the finish however proved otherwise, as I found myself boxed in until the final 80m, and found that indeed there were some strong sprinters and a true contest was on my hands, where three of us battled up the home straight for a reasonably tight finish, of which I took a third place.
The time trial in the afternoon was a completely new experience, and a fun one at that. Here I was thinking there would be a start line, and an “on your marks, get set, go!”….But no, this was the full sha-bang. A ramp, a holder, and a 20second clock countdown. So me and my new clip on aero bars pursued the girl ahead, and knuckled down to try and find a rhythm. A few little hills, and the strong winds meant I was on the drops for stability through some sections, left me struggling for that rhythm, but as I passed several riders and gained on the girl ahead it was clear that everyone was battling the same conditions. A final squirt up the last rise, to finish 4th in the time trial.
Sunday saw the criterium, and after watching Max and Paul during their race, it was obvious how brutal this course would be, and how inevitable it was that there would be people dropped throughout the race. Perhaps for this reason , it was the most nervous I had felt all weekend, but also as crits are notorious for crashes, they always seem to provoke a nervous reaction. However, as the QOM and sprint leader from yesterdays races, I was entitled to a front position at the start of the race, which proved to be helpful as after about 4 or 5 laps I gave it a burst up the hill and had the other strong girls next to me, splitting the bunch , and creating a break of five riders. It also meant the intermediate sprint was a race between the five of us, and unfortunately as I was ever so slowly gaining on the leader, the finish line came a few metres too soon and a photo finish left me with second place, but still beneficial in gaining time bonus for GC position.The five of us (actually only four of us plus a wheelsucker) pulled turns for the rest of the race, and to my content, the four of us all that had worked hard yesterday in the road race, and in the crit, and finished first across the line.Once again a sprint battle between the top 3 in GC played out, and I was very happy to take the second place to a very talented and friendly young rider.
Overall I finished 2nd in GC, with the other two on the podium, great girls, who were fabulous to race with over the weekend, and have a lot of talent to come (they were both under 20years of age!) Thanks to the encouraging sideline of Max, Paul, Nick and a few mysterious voices.