Race: Chris Thater Memorial Criterium Weekend
Date: 8/27 & 8/28 2016
Riders: Deborah Leedale-Brown, Emily Underwood
(Saturday 27th) & Deborah Leedale-Brown, Emily Underwood, Meredith Ehn (Sunday 28th)
(As told by Deborah Leedale-Brown)
After an intense and fast race at the Ironhill Twilight Crit, competing against a stacked field, it was more of the same this past weekend for the Chris Thater races - the women of ISCorp and United Healthcare among others were still in town! Saturday nights Women's Pro 1/2 race ran in a clockwise direction and with only two of the corners that require some careful attention, its a fast crit course. Emily received a call up as the NY State Crit Champion and so she enjoyed a front line seat, I was just behind in the 2nd row. The race started and the pace was immediately fast but a smooth pace with no real attacks in the first few laps of the 43 lap race. It was our aim to be stronger in our positioning and to look for a preme opportunity if one came about. As it came up to the 2nd or 3rd preme I found myself close to the front of the race so decided to keep pace and see if I could sneak anything on the preme, as we headed for the line I found myself in 5th but in case there was a counter attack I did not want to ease up the pace. It was off this preme that a breakaway went with an ISCorp and United Healthcare rider, then myself and two other riders jumped to try and catch onto the breakaway. So the race quickly split into two breaks of two riders and three riders, with myself safely ensconced in the three rider break my team mate Emily played her role perfectly patrolling the main field. Unfortunately our break group could not close the gap on the two rider breakaway which would have allowed for more strength and with Rally Team not represented in the break they decided to turn up the pace and bring the race back together. As the race entered its final laps it was evident that it would end up a field sprint, Emily and I were well positioned and we moved towards the front end as we entered the final lap. I felt in a good position going into the final corner however a heavy crash with a number of riders happened just in front and so some heavy braking to avoid riders on the ground meant that I lost a lot of momentum, happy to be upright, myself and Emily sprinted for the line, coming in 16th and 20th respectively.
Deborah Leedale-Brown 16th
Emily Underwood 20th
Sunday's race was 43 laps run in reverse, but also included the intense heat of the midday sun. Pretty much the same field lined up with the exception of IsCorp and the addition of some Cat 3 riders. The reverse course was equally fast, if not a bit faster as the tight corners seemed to flow better in reverse. It was windy however and a strong headwind greeted us on the back part of the course. The early part of the race stayed together and with 3 of our team in this race it was goal to get in a breakaway. The pace was fast but it was more surging than the previous night which made it tough and let gaps open up. An attack of pace did occur on the uphill stretch through the start/finish line and unfortunately we were unable to capitalize and get in what was a 4 rider break. There was some chasing occurring but it was short lived and really only had the effect of putting surges of pace and creating gaps. As we rode through the start/finish area on one lap a slow motion crash happened that took a number of riders down including Emily. She went down hard and hit her head so was given an extra lap before re-entering the race. My legs were not feeling strong, combination of not being recovered from the effort of the previous night and the hot temperatures. My goal was to just stay in contact with the main group and do what I could in the sprint finish. The breakaway was very successful and ended up lapping our field, as we entered the final laps and with Emily a lap down because of the crash she took some front pulls to try and string it out and for me to save my legs for whatever I had left. I ended up crossing the line in 13th place, not what I wanted but happy to have stayed the course and another great showing of teamwork that included Sarah Iepson, unable to race with injuries being our DS from the sidelines.
Deborah Leedale-Brown 13th
Meredith Ehn 22nd
Emily Underwood DNF - Crashed