Liz Benishin reports:
Mt Bachelor RR Masters Women 55-59
USAC Masters Road Championships
Wayne and I drove and studied the course, and pre rode the final hill. Unfortunately the wind shifted on race day so my plans had to be modified, I assumed tailwind on climb and headwind on the 180 into the finish. Aaaaaah, the best laid plans.
We started with a neutral promenade down the hill. Wide open and not too steep but the Moto kept the pace down, but it still was reasonable, not riding my brakes or anything. We essentially were neutral for about 8 miles till the turn off on a rolling road. The 60 yo men’s group soon passed us, not sure why they started them 5 minutes after us.
There was one small climb at about mile 30 but the group stayed together. There was one attack just before the climb which I was in position to do about 10 hard pedal strokes and jump on. Since it was Arrietta the TT machine I didn’t want to let her go plus now I was getting a good tug going into the hill. Blam went someone’s tire (Nancy from CT) but were going at a mellow tempo and the wheels were right there so she was back in quickly. On the descent I was in front enjoying the ride and got a bee sting on my leg, which burned like crazy, I’m not allergic but get a big big red welt from those things. Better than a flat though.
Some sketchy riding for unclear reasons. I thought “and I’m gonna do the crit with these girls”.
There was no neutral feed but Jill offered me a bottle, with what tasted like beer. Whats in this bottle?
Tastes like beer!
“Beer” well you can have it back.
Real action happened about mile 40, start of a 1.5 mile not too steep climb. The group was all together and riding like a fine training ride. I put in a big acceleration and within a few minutes split the field in half. We had 7 at the top of that climb, and on the plateau had a rotating paceline with about 5 rotators and a couple passengers. Arrietta to my surprise was there. She is bigger than your average climber and was not even under pressure.
Not knowing what else to do I attacked HARD on the second climb. In tow were Mary Ann from South Carolina (multiple nat’l champ that I beat by fractions of a sec in the TT ) Leslie Jensen,& Arrietta. Leslie was falling off, and after my big punch I tucked in behind the 2 girls but lost my mojo and fell off, regrouped with Leslie and essentially dragged her up the last 5 k. I kept flapping my wing to have her come through but she was wasted, she maybe gave me a smidgen of rest, and of course someone bridged up (Nancy the flatter). Relief came after 3 k, one last nasty hill then level, bit of downhill, rounded the corner and sweet tailwind. Dang if Nancy didn’t outkick me at the line.
Arrietta shredded off MaryAnn, finishing a full minute ahead of her, then we were about 1 min back of MaryAnn.
I’m not sure if the hard attacks on the hill made sense or not—definitely for a podium but not the win. Needed Cammy to put in her killer punches on the climbs for sure, and I know Lauraleen would have been super aggressive on the climbs.
My second medal of the championships! Course a win would be sweet but this wasn’t the year.