Date: June 20-21st, 2015
Race: Giro del Cielo Stage Race
Rider(s): Nikki Ragonese, Maryanne Caruso, Danielle Ferland, Deborah Leedale-Brown, Andy Maher
Stage 1 Time Trial
After pre riding the course the day before and getting up close and personal with mother bear and baby bear, I was excited to try this course out. As a non TT rider I was on a bike that I borrowed from my team mate Jo Johnson and after pre riding the course I'm glad I did, as although it was a hilly 13 miles (1250" elevation), it still had fast sections that would benefit a TT bike. Myself and Andy were 30sec apart so the fact that my team mate was chasing me down helped me to go faster I think. All in all the TT went well, I caught my 30sec and min person before the first half and then nobody came past me. TT is a mental game that I'm not totally familiar with, but I have to say I really enjoyed the intense pain and suffering and for this I was rewarded with 4th fastest time and Andy 6th.
Next up a few hours later and after a little breakfast refueling was a 1.4mile non technical crit course. The weather was looking iffy with some rain showers already falling. We did luck out though and for the most part the course was dry. This was a fast course with only one sharp left turn that required some slowing, and a little popper hill. The women's race began with one neutral lap and then was a 12 lap race. The leader of the race after the TT was very visible on her pink jersey and so was marked pretty heavily. A number of attacks ensued and the pace was kept high 22.8mph ave. Nothing was successful and so a bunch sprint was the order of the day. Positioning was vital going into the final sharp turn and hill then it was a short sprint to the line. I came across in 2nd place and Andy Maher finished 19th. Day one complete and the results left me lying in 2nd place overall in GC.
The final day we awoke to torrential rain but thankfully it was warm. The road race was 6 laps of a 5.2 mile course that was not too technical, an included a couple of rolling hills. A few extra people were lined up for the road race, but as a GC contender, my concerns were to closely mark the pink jersey. The rain was falling but had eased by the time we started and in fact as we professed through the race the sun came out and things started to dry out. The first lap was pretty uneventful except for another bear who decided to join the race for a short while. I can safely say I've never shouted "slowing, bear"!
On the second lap the attack that I was anticipating happened with the pink jersey leader riding away with the 3rd place GC rider who had won the TT by 4min! That had to be brought back and so a chase ensued that unfortunately had to be done by the few riders who had GC spots to safeguard. Eventually after an almost full lap chase they were brought back and the pack then stayed together for the remainder of the 4laps. With a narrow road and centerline rule in play till the sprint point on the final lap it meant for a lot of riders jostling for key positions as we went into the final uphill finish section. When eventually the road did open out I unfortunately still found myself boxed in with no clear road to launch a sprint. This meant I had a disappointing RR finish and crossed the line in 12th knowing key riders finished ahead of me. Andy had unfortunately had to pull out earlier in this race due to leg and back pain that she had been suffering with the day before.
Final GC result:
Deborah Leedale Brown 4th
Andrea Maher 13th