Monday, June 11, 2007

Dash for Cash and EMC Criterium

by Flandria

Dash for Cash Crit, Cat 4, Field Size 20

Bella Team Mate: Mo

The course has four corners, wide lanes and long stretches. The weather was freezingly cold and as the fog rolled in, the wind picked up pretty much in every category race. Tail wind, cross winds and head wind all mixed up. It was hard to determine the wind direction in the last stretch before the last corner to the finish. The finish was more than 250m sprint stretch.

Last year, it was a dash for cash every lap, this year we had 5 premes of $30. I preferred last years race format because it made the race a lot more interesting. It was less wind last year but then we get to sprint every lap.

The race started out calm and remained pretty reasonably calm due to the strong crosswind. There were a couple of attacks but it was for the premes. It was going to be too hard to get a way with a couple of people because of the wind.

The teams to look out for were Protech and Form Fitness. They have strong riders and with just me and Mo - we decided to see how the game plays out. The wind was a big variable more than anything. Everytime there was an attack, the pack brought it back or they all sat up. After every preme, there was no threat of a break away. Metromint took 2 of the 5 premes. They had two in the team and both lead out each other to win the premes.

The last two laps as usual started picking up and I positioned myself where I wanted to be. As soon as everyone hit that last corner, everyone sprinted and I was able to get on a Protech wheel. Form Fitness and Pegasus got first and second. I sprinted past Protech for third. Sweet.

EMC Crit, Cat 3/4, Field Size 40

Bella Team Mates: Tracey, Soni and Kim

The weather was better today. It was sunny when I woke and drive up to Pleasanton was pleasant. The wind subsided and was calmer. The course has four corners but a lot smoother and curved turns. The road was re-paved, it was pretty smooth surface.

Right at the start, the masters 4/5 race had a bad crash right on their sprint finish. I heard a pain scream and run out to see who it was. My hunny was racing in that race and my heart dropped. It was an EMC racer...not good. The officials made us lap around the course a couple of times then we waited until the ambulance tended to the EMC racer.

The start was F-A-S-T. We had a lot of Cat 3 women in the race because they didn't have a Cat 1-2-3 womens race. The teams that had the numbers were Metromint, Pegasus, Dolce Vita, Alto Velo, Protech.

Tracey, Soni, Kim including myself were all trying to go for a good position. It was a challenge! The pack was big. It was a repeated mushrooming and stringing out. It was fast all the way to the end. Teams were tagging each other pushing a fast pace. It was insane! We had some sketchiness on the corners as everyone was in battle for positioning. Tough crowd...

There were several attacks and a couple of pseudo-breaks I saw but it didn't stick as the organization wasn't there.

With 5 more laps to go, the speed increased. We were strung out, then the speed came down at 4 more laps to go. At lap 3, the pace started picking up and this time, more positioning taking place and there's only several spots up there! I was about 25 spots or more behind the leader. At 2 more laps to go, a Dolce Vita racer drilled the peloton pushing our limits! Insanely powerful and strong up in the front! I was still in the same position trying to sort myself out and just hanging on the demonic speed...ouch! Everyone had their cozy positions...oy.

I finished a reasonable 9th overall. I saw Stacey come in on my left and she finished 10th. Since Cat 3/4 were picked separately, we found out from the results that there were several 3's in front of us except that strong Aimee Baker from Protech (She had Shawn Bausman leading her out again! Shawn won overall and behind her was Aimee - dang.)... Myself and Stacey finished 2nd and 3rd on the podium. Yay Bellas!


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