Pictures courtesy of Nin Lei Photography
Race: Womens Woodstock Cycling Grand Prix
Date: May 6, 2017
Location: Woodstock, NY
Rider(s): Cheryl Clark and Alexa Gurbinski
The morning started out with a 4am wake up (3:45am for Miss Alexa!) that was totally worth it, for a grueling day climbing our hearts out at Woodstock.
This race is amazing for multiple reasons: 1)There are hills, and we love hills. 2)There is grit, and we love grit. 3)There are a tone of powerful, strong women racers competing at the top level on a very challenging course, and everyone involved was super stoked about this. 4)It was pretty much a festival, as once you cross the finish line, there was an enormous amount of food and chocolate milk up for grabs, raffles, and a very well put together awards ceremony, recognizing all that went into each race, and how meaning the race truly is.
As soon as the neutral start was over, the Canadian team led one attack after another, a great way to start out a race, as it really forced everyone into race mode, and Alexa and Cheryl were busy right from the gun, covering any moves, just to be sure nothing got away before the first significant climb.
The first climb was a killer, lasting about 1.5 miles, and a test for what laid ahead. Cheryl crossed the QOM line in second, with Alexa and and a few other strong climbers coming up over the line right in the mix.
The field regrouped for a few miles, keeping the pace steady and high, going into the BIG climb of the day. Greeted by pouring rain, this climb became even more epic. Alexa and Cheryl set themselves up for a solid 2.5 miles of suffering up very high pitches. All we could really do was focus on our own efforts and keep grinding away, doing everything we could to stay mentally tough through the burning lungs and quads. The field naturally separated, and Becca crossed the second QOM with a gap. Cheryl and Senta (Green Line Velo) were next to cross the summit. After crossing the QOM line, Regina (Green Line Velo) was not far behind, so Cheryl and Senta, regrouped with Regina to form a powerful paceline to attempt to hunt down Becca (Becca's strong effort kept her away for an eventual deserving win!)
The trio was closing the gap, but their efforts eased up, and they began more thinking about the field behind them, as the gap that they had was becoming less (Alexa being in the chase group). Exhaustion was sinking in, but we kept focus. During the last significant climb, Regina and Cheryl broke away, and it was a race for 2nd place. The race finished on a fast downhill segment, and Regina edged Cheryl out in the sprint, leaving Cheryl in a hard earned 3rd place.
Not far behind, Alexa whipped out her climbing legs, and pulled away from her chase group to finish with a strong 8th place finish, right in the money! It was a great day in the saddle, and another fun and successful road trip for this duo was in the books.
Cheryl Clark 3rd place overall, 3rd place sprint, 2nd place QOM
Alexa Gubinski 8th place overall