Palmer - Elite Women's Team Report - Chris Rothfuss - 5-1-07
Palmer Library Road Race
April 29, 2007
This was our second team race and we had the full squad present with the exception of Alie, who was sick. We had to strap Alie to her bed to help her exercise better judgment and keep her from racing.
One of the teamâs goals this season is to spice up regional womenâs racing. Too frequently, racers are content to endure a fast-paced group ride and let it come down to a field sprint. To be fair, a contributing factor to this phenomenon is that many racers are competing with just one or two teammates, or solo. The prospect of blowing yourself up early without any team support is a daunting one. With a full squad, we have the luxury and responsibility of racing like a team.
Although our finish still lacked organization and execution, the NEBC Elite Womenâs Team indeed raced actively and as a team at Palmer. Each of us attacked hard at least once; most several times. At least three of these attacks resulted in an NEBC rider being well off the front for long, solid chunks of time. And one saw Amy way off the front for half a lapâ¦of a 20 mile loop. I think it took awhile for it to sink in that the rider disappearing into the distance ahead was Amy Wallace â fully capable of soloing for the final 30 miles of the race. Two of the Terry racers finally took up the chase, with Tami, Ashley and I mixing into their effort but letting them do the work. Not sure where their four teammates were, but the two of them worked long and hard to finally reel in Amy.
Our counter-attacking was better, too, but still in need of some fine-tuning on the timing. And in debriefing after the race, we discussed the need for counters of counters, and attempts at bridging when the pack is uninspired to chase (as it often was this race). Our group blocking / guarding of the front was well-orchestrated and effective â everyone participated at different times. Once, when we had Tami off and four of us sitting pretty on the front, someone in the field finally complained âthatâs THEIR rider up thereâ¦are we just going to let them sit in front of us?!â That inspired some action. And, during the few attacks by other riders, we lived up to the responsibility of having the largest team and chased the attack down. It might be argued that, since none of our efforts succeeded in a breakaway that stuck, we simply wore ourselves down for naught and missed the âWâ by inches. Iâd argue differently. We took a stab at racing the way the sport is meant to be raced. It wasnât all perfect and we have much to improve. But we worked hard and earned some respect (as articulated by other racers after each of our two team races so far). And mark my word â there is a team âWâ coming in the near future that will be achieved in a breakaway (perhaps solo).
Congrats to Rebecca, Ashley and Natalie for rocking up the final stretch to grab top ten finishes!!