Race date: April 13, 2014
Race Type: Criterium
Location: Norristown, PA
Riders: Erin Mandato,, Bobbie Mach, Cristina Cortes, guest rider Alli McCabe, Deborah Leedale-Brown, Dana Hanchin, Ronald Araya Garcia
Sunday was an slightly chilly overcast day in Pennsylvania but that did not stop Team Riptide from showing up in force at the Lower Providence Criterium! This criterium is a fairly easy but fast four cornered criterium on a closed road in an industrial park. It is one of the largest and longest running criteriums in the MidAtlantic region so it was a fun race for the EPS/CSS/Shebell&Shebell girls and gent to be a part of! We had four ladies in the Cat 4 Women's race, 2 girls in the Women's 1/2/3 race who also participated in the Women's Masters 35+ race, and 1 lone gentleman (Cat 4 rider Cristina Cortes' fiance from Costa Rica) who rode in the Men's Cat 4 race. Check out the "Read More" links below to learn more about their experiences.
Cat 4 Women's race
Bobbie Mach 8th
Erin Mandato 10th
Alli McCabe 11th
Cristina Cortes 14th
Women's 1/2/3 race
Deborah Leedale-Brown 5th
Dana Hanchin 15th
Deborah Leedale-Brown 1st
Dana Hanchin 3rd
Men's Cat 4
Ronald Araya Garcia 2nd (by about 1/2 inch AND he crushed the field on this sprint ON A FLAT FRONT TIRE)!!
From the perspective of Bobbie Mach: It was the pleasure of the Team Riptide Cat 4 ladies to have guest rider Alli McCabe along with us on this race day! A few of us had met Alli at the Cape May time trial when she kicked our booties in the Eddy category and chatted with her a bit about our team after the race that day. Within 24 hours Alli had reached out to the team about riding with us so we asked her to guest ride with us this weekend at Lower Providence! What an amazing addition Alli was to our squad this weekend. Erin, Cristina and I knew we had a tough race in front of us because we knew that the Action Wheels Women's team was showing up with 10 girls in the Cat 4 race and we knew they would launch relentless attacks to wear down the field a, but what a blessing it was to have Alli riding with us because she is an incredibly strong rider who could help our team efforts to keep the AW team in check during this race. As a team, the four of us had decided on goals for this race and they were to keep Erin safe and set her up for the sprint at the end of the race, to ride together as a team, and to keep in good communication with each other throughout the race and we accomplished all of these goals along with many more very successful moments!
The race started off smoothly with a good pace. I knew right from the beginning this race was going to be much faster than it was last year. As predicted the AW team continually sent their riders off the front to make the pack chase them down but they were not successful in getting any breaks to stick and Team Riptide played a huge part in that fact. We were very smart about the breaks we chose to chase down and we waited to see if the break looked serious and now long it stayed in front before deciding if we needed to reel it back in. On on particular break the 2 girls off the front stayed away for a while and seemed to be making ground away from the pack. I was pinched in the pack and could not get out, but Erin was on the outside so I told her to either move up and tell Alli to chase down the break or to chase it down herself and that's exactly what she did. Before I knew it Erin was up there and all of a sudden Alli kicked it into another gear and caught the break that was making ground away from the pack and she dragged them back to the pack! It was amazing to watch her from my pack position. Perfectly executed bridge to the break!! There were a few pretty scary moments of bad bike handling in the race, but everyone kept the rubber side down so we headed into the final lap safely. On the final lap there was 1 particularly scary moment when one of the riders decided to try to plow their way from the inside line to the outside line through her competitors, but once that mess cleared up everyone started to settle into their positions to get ready for the final sprint. During warm up our team had talked about trying to get organized for a lead out train to get Erin into the sprint and coming out of turn 2 I looked around and there were all my girls. It took a few seconds but heading into turn 3 we had a perfect lead out train organized on the outside line. I was leading sitting at about wheel #8 with Alli behind me, Erin behind her, and Cristina playing sweeper! Coming out of turn 3 I made the move to move up and got us up to about wheel #5 and that's when I saw the AW girls going for the sprint on the inside line. We got through the final turn smoothly and I began to push for the lead out for the sprint. I took a moment to look back to make sure my girls were with me and there was a gap between Alli and I so I had to make a split second decision to either back off and let them catch back on or go for the sprint. Backing off on the last lap didn't make sense to me so I went for it. This moment of hesitation caused me to find myself sitting about #12 or so but was able to pass 4 people on the sprint to take 8th. I was unsure where my girls ended up but they pulled in right behind me which was awesome! Overall this race was such an amazing team day!! Every time I looked around I saw Alli sitting about the 5th wheel, Erin was on the outside ready to strike if need be and Cristina was on the inside ready to chase anything down that we needed. We all were in constant communication with each other about where we were and where the other girls were. It was AWESOME! We accomplished all our goals and so many more well executed moments. I could not be more proud of my teammates and the work we did today! Well done Cat 4 Women...it is honor to race with you and I am so blessed to call you all my teammates!
As told by Deborah Leedale-Brown
The women's 1/2/3 field were fortunate to race later in the day and had much warmer temperatures, in fact I think it topped out at 80deg so it was a hot race! I decided to give my new bike Cloudblur an outing and see who she raced, I made sure I put my old faithful in the pit first though. As Dana and I were warming up we were discussing tactics, it was a windy day and we were planning on there being numerous attacks for which Dana was going to do more than her share of bringing them back so as to give me a chance in a sprint finish. Our plan was to reverse those roles in our Masters 35+ race a little later. During the warm up and with 15mins to go until the start I hear a loud bang and realize I've blown my back tire. I sprint back to the start area in cleats and hand my bike to Barb who in true team mate style organizes a fix for me while I continue to warm up on my 2nd bike. The new bike gets fixed and I line up alongside Dana and a good peleton of women for the start of the race. The race started with a few attacks nothing huge and then one women did go off the front during the latter half of the race, with the main field really not working together she unfortunately remained away to take the win and then it was a field sprint for the remaining places. Going into the second to final turn I was right where I wanted to be and then it all got a bit messy going into the final turn, which left me feeling boxed in on the left side, I had to adjust my sprint to move across to the right side and then accelerate again, this was my first sprint on the cannondale and it certainly responded well just not enough finishing straight left to sprint down any more riders, I crossed the line in 6th and Dana 15th. Race one of the day done!
While the men's Pro/1/2 race got underway Dana and I got off the bikes and ate a little and stretched then it was back on the bike to warm up for the women's masters 35+ race that ran alongside the men's 55+ / 65+. Many of the women from the first race were also in the masters so it was an interesting race within a race scenario. The wind had got even stronger so I'm sure non of the women had any intention to be near the front but instead look to shelter from the wind behind some of the big guys. That was my plan anyway and also make sure that Dana was doing no work in this race and safely ensconced on my wheel. It was shorter only 15laps so it really did go by quickly. I stayed very near to the front so I could watch any moves, I felt confident to be in front of the other women. The race did have an unfortunate crash in the last lap and I was able to glance quickly behind to catch sight of orange and no that Dana was not involved. I do like our bright race colors and helmet if makes us very visible in the race. Our plan was for me to lead Dana to the line but she did say to me to just go and sprint and not look back. So for this race I made sure I came around the final bend and was able to get into clear open space on the right side and make that Cannondale accelerate as fast she could go, this time I crossed the line in first place for the women's 35+ and Dana was 3rd. All in all a good showing for team EPS.