Rose Grant (Stan's-Pivot) came into the race as the prohibitive favorite, seeking her fourth consecutive championship. Perhaps her biggest obstacle was the fact that she spent the winter rehabbing a knee, dislocated a shoulder ten days ago, and then crashed onto the pavement during the Fat Tire Criterium at the Whiskey Off-Road.
Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing), perhaps better known for her cyclo-cross prowess, was coming off a seventh-place finish at the Whiskey Off-Road, just four places behind Grant. She was clearly on Grant's radar as the likely challenger.
Early in the race it became apparent that the two were likely to ride the whole race together. Grant set a blistering pace on the first lap, and Anthony seemed to have no problem holding her wheel.
Amy Beisel (Kenda) was the best-of-the-rest and owned third from wire to wire. Riding alone, she was losing about five minutes per lap to the leaders.
It was on the final lap that serious fireworks erupted. Grant explained, "It was like trying to kill each other by ripping each other's legs off. The second half of the race we took turns at the front. Crystal put in some really aggressive efforts. Yeah, we were burning matches right down to the finish."
When asked what this race meant to her, give the challenges she faced over the past few months, Grant responded, "It means how important it is to trust the process, and stay faithful to the calling that has been laid before me. I just think it is an honor to race my bike for the glory of God."
Anthony clearly gave everything she had during the race. She explained, "I have a whole lot of respect for Rose. I was just trying to settle in and we had a good rhythm going. Rose was setting a good pace. I was just trying to ride cleanly and think about strategy since it looked like we were going to be staying together for the last lap."
Anthony concluded, "On the last lap we just took turns attacking each other….it felt like a race."
All three women on the podium will meet for a rematch at the Grand Junction Off-Road on May 20. Cyclingnews will be there to bring you all the action.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Rose Grant (Stans-Pivot)|
|2||Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing)|
|3||Amy Beisel (Ridebiker)|
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