Valley of the Sun stage 3, USA, February 18-20, 2005
It just figures. Right when I start submitting my diaries again to Cyclingnews, my laptop decides to implode. I called the repair shop, which knows my computer and myself personally, and they sadly informed me it would cost another $400 to repair. I would have more satisfaction throwing this computer against a wall. So I really appreciate Steve letting me use his computer this weekend. I love my T-Mobile Blackberry, but it'd take a lot to type out a race report with my thumbs.
What beautiful timing... the sun came out for the final stage of Valley of the Sun. If ever I wanted a stage to have dry pavement, it would be the criterium. Wet corners are NOT my thing. So I was more than happy to see the sun shining through on our way to the start.
We didn't want to be too greedy, but our main objective today was to 1) win the criterium and 2) maintain the top three places overall. With Genevieve only one second behind Mari in GC and time bonus seconds at the finish for the top three, this would be a tough assignment. The crit was only 40 minutes long... rather short compared to the crits we do the rest of the season. But with this being our first team race of 2005, 40 minutes is a good way to start.
We were definitely the team with the most power, having eight riders to send off with attacks. Nothing stayed away though. There was definitely enough power in the field to bring girls back. Genevieve brought back most herself. As the time ticked down, it looked like a field sprint was imminent, giving our team a chance to practice our leadout.
I've got to admit, everything came together so smoothly. Brooke started the leadout and I took over from her, leading through the start/finish line with one lap to go. Then Lara, Kristin, and Kori... leading Ina cleanly to the line to take the win. Megan Long rode strong and sprinted for second place, with Genevieve taking third. Our top goal was met and we were most excited about that one. Ina's not even on her top form yet. She's just warming up. So it looks to be a very promising season.
We all waited around for the podium and awards celebration... for two hours! And unlike anything I have ever seen before, instead of just calling up the top three, they called up the top 20. Wouldn't you know - the entire top 20 in GC had stuck around. Very impressive!
It's a short report I know, but it was a short race. Our next race is in two weeks in Merced, California, the McClane Classic. I'll get back to you then!