Saturday, 4 March
I have a hard time getting excited about this race, which is not a good thing. I won a race here once, and I won the series once, and now I seem content to participate for the early season entertainment value.
It's a flat 12-mile course around a lake; women 1-2-3 do four laps. There's usually a headwind on the wide-open main road half of the course and a tailwind on the twisty little back road half of the circuit. If you could get a gap on the twisty section, you might be able to hold it, but the line of sight on the main road is a good half-mile sometimes, so you're not going to be out of mind for long. There is almost always a break in the men's races on this course, and women's races almost always come down to a field sprint.
There were some team efforts to animate our race, and I admire women who can motivate themselves to attack, hang off the front of the field for a couple of minutes, and then get reeled in--only to do it again in a few miles. The team with the (arguably) best sprinter also had the most riders in the race, so it was pretty clear who was going to be doing the reeling in. The strongest rider in the bunch saved her attacks for the last lap (one of her teammates had done more than her share in the earlier laps), but even she couldn't go anywhere, probably because she was well marked. So, predictably, it came down to a field sprint. I guess the placings after first were not completely predictable, but it was not exactly a nail-biter of a race.
The entertainment value in this first road race of the year was in watching who struggled to stay on the pack when things got harder, the racing habits of the new cat 3s (the youngest woman in the field did a great job), the sections of the woods around the lake that had been logged in the last year, and me trying to remember how to use Campagnolo shifters (my rain bike has Shimano). And the exciting part about this race day was the 48 cat 4 women who raced; the 1-2-3s mustered only 17.
Race results are posted here.