Race: Nutmeg Criterium/CT State Crit Championships
Date: June 4th, 2017
Riders: Emily Undderwood and Alexa Gubinski
On Sunday, June 4th, Emily Underwood and Alexa Gubinski persevered against a 5 pm race time, a pretty ominous weather forecast and a rather anaemic (in number of racers, not quality!) start list… to crown Emily (who recently relocated to Norwalk, CT) the 2017 Connecticut State Criterium Champion at the Nutmeg Games!! Here’s how it played out…
The field was definitely small, but we knew everyone could hold her own and that there were a number of talented sprinters in the mix. The plan was for Emily to save her watts as much as possible and for Alexa to cover moves and throw in an attack or two where appropriate. Despite the race promoter’s best efforts to talk us into a much shorter race on the start line, all the racers held firm and we were in for the full hour. (Yes, it was late, and heavily raining and 50 degrees, but we came to race for an hour and that’s what we were going to do!!)
We took a pretty calm first lap to get a feel for the slippery road and note the obstacles and turns (although as a dedicated bicycle park, it’s happily a pretty safe course) and Alexa quickly countered one attack to ride a solo lap with the goal of keeping the race sharp - we needed to ride fast to have any chance of staying warm! Emily countered when Alexa was caught and we all kept up a nice tempo for the rest of the race. Alexa covered most of the rest of the attacks and was super grateful for Emily’s shouted instructions during the race! We knew the course and conditions weren’t particularly conducive to anyone getting away, so Alexa was happy to ride the front at a decent clip for the last 5 laps or so with the goals of letting Emily stay protected, ride fast enough to discourage any attacks and keep the field strung out and safe in increasingly poor road conditions. At the last turn the group got ready to sprint, Alexa sat up and Emily followed wheels to snag an excellent third overall and first in Connecticut! Woohooo!! While we may have grumbled on the ride about the weather and start time, we were super thrilled that we stuck with it and came away with the championship.
Any many thanks to the New England Bicycle Racing Association who quickly stepped in to resolve out the situation with the prize money (background here, and resolution here: short story, the promoter cut the prize money at the line, which appears to be against USAC policy.) We feel lucky to race under NEBRA’s umbrella here in Connecticut and continue to appreciate their support of equality in men’s and women’s cycling.
Emily Underwood: 1st place STATE CHAMPION
Alexa Gubinski: 8th place