Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stage 3 - Duluth Road Race

Distance - 37 miles.
1 LARGE climb - need to climb 4 times.
Elevation change - more than 300 ft of elevation change in less than 1.5 miles. 235 feet of elevation change in last 1/2 mile of climb.

Stage 3 was the Duluth Road Race. This one was to be tough, even by Tone's standards, but I tried not to worry. The killer was a 1K+ climb we had to tackle 4 times.... Tone was sweet enough to start us at the bottom, and make us finish at the top 3 laps later (thanks Tone!). Keep in mind in this picture, we're only 2/3's of the way up.....
The fog was beautiful as we pedaled through the north woods. Fortunately, it burned off quick and the sun came out to warm us once again. So much so that the support vehicle slowed along side us on the first lap, entertaining us with music as we shed some layers.

The course was full of climbs and rollers alike and the field seemed to be having fun. We kept the group together until we hit the massive ascent again, shedding a few riders on the climb. Though the well planned meals and relaxing in the hot tub left me feeling great, I hung onto the back hoping to learn from the amazing group of women I was riding in. By the 3rd time up the hill, exhaustion was starting to reveal itself in some of us. The pack was smaller still and, as we got to the top, I got dropped. I bombed the following downhill, reaching 38mph in a desperate attempt to get back onto the lead group. Unfortunately, my solo pursuit and TT efforts weren't enough to catch back on, and I found myself alone on the road.

Jacki and Sue bridged up to me and gave me a rest after a few miles. We worked together as we tried to keep pace and finish the race. The 3 of us rocked it all the way to the final climb, only to go into solo mode for the final push. I ended up coming in 7th, Jacki in 8th, and Sue took first in her 40+ field. Amy (our little mountain goat), made the break, finishing 6th with the leaders!
Hollywood's Hellions on the attack

Hwood never ceases to surprise me, as he rode phenomonally in the race, finishing just outside the top 10. I know it's still early in the year, but I see that he's really starting to come on! Nice work, Sugar! It was a blast cheering for you, and having you out there cheering us on - Thanks.

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