The Glotman•Simpson Womens race team was in full force at this year's Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race, May 17 and 18, 2014 in Washington.
Stage 1 - 10km TT
This year the race organizers enforced a No TT Equipment rule - everyone was competing on their road bikes! It made packing and carpooling a lot more enjoyable for us, but also meant that the results ended up very very close together. Justine Clift nailed it, and took the win with a not quite comfortable 8 second lead over 2nd place. Morgan Cabot ended in 7th and ~35 seconds back, with an unfortunate stop for a passing logging truck on the road. Alysia Withers was looking great in the Cat 3 GC in 2nd place.
Stage 2 - Criterium
Claire Cameron, Erin Redl, Justine and Morgan had great plans to animate the race and steal time primes from Justine's GC threats, followed by a gorgeous leadout train to deliver Justine to a sprint finish time bonus. After a full week of warm sun, it started pouring rain JUST as the women lined up to the start line, and our race plan went right out the window. New goal: survive the 8 corner course which had effectively turned into a skating rink, and we nervously let air out of our tires on the start line. Unfortunately Claire got caught up in one of the corner slip outs, but the crash adrenaline was enough to block out the pain and she jumped back in to finish. 2nd place woman and powerhouse Beth Ann Orton managed to squeak away with the win (and the 10 second time bonus) and took over the yellow jersey with a 2 second lead over Justine.
Stage 3 Road Race
Plan was to take back the yellow jersey! The course featured a long climb every lap (we raced 4 laps, 100km), and we wanted to be sure the field split apart over the climb and stayed apart. As long as Justine could finish in the top 3 of the finish sprint, and beat Beth Ann, the time bonus she would get would put her back in the GC lead. So, we wanted to be sure that the finish sprint featured as few riders as possible, and certainly none of the powerful sprinters that we could have dropped on the climb. We seriously picked up the pace on the second climb, shattering the field, and as we came over the top of the climb tried to pick up the pace even more, only to have our lead car slam on the brakes in front of us.
For some reason we were required to stand on the side of the road for 7 minutes to let mini chase groups of men pass? Sadly that meant the entire group came back together as we stood there, and our efforts were for nothing as we essentially had to restart the whole race. Fortunately in the end we were still successful, and used the final two climbs to crack a small group of 11 of us off the front on the last lap. The second chase group (with some top GC contenders) was extremely close behind, so we brought up the pace leading into the finish. It was great to see the hard work pay off, as the chase group never caught back on and Justine successfully sprinted to a podium finish to secure to overall GC win! It was a very close race, and having all the GC contenders so close together in the results made for a very thrilling race and constantly changing results.
Sadly Alysia was bumped down from her 2nd place in Cat 3 by some scrawny mountain goats that held onto the Cat 1/2 group over the top of the climb, but still asserted herself as a dominant rider to be feared in time trials and crits which was cool to watch.
Even more sadly our bruised up Claire had to pull out of the road race, once it became clear that things were really hurting from the previous day's crash. Heal up quick Claire!
Stage 4 drive home
After regrouping briefly at the Bellevue Whole Foods deli counter (which seems to be a team tradition for Washington races now), the team cars tackled the most stressful competition of all: The border line up for those of us with no Nexus pass. Stretching out a couple kilometers back from the booths, we stayed close together and strong in the face of the dozens of jerks trying to cut the two hour line up by blasting up the Nexus lane and trying to butt in. Glued to each other's bumpers, we made sure none of these people could cut in, and hopefully they all regretted their decision to be self important and inconsiderate tools ;).