The team came together this past weekend for our first multi-stage event of the season, Race the Ridge. The women’s squad had 4 riders: Anika, Anna, Holly, and myself. It was a great opportunity for us to build on our success at Jeremy’s Roubaix a couple weekends prior, and finally test the legs with some vertical. A personal highlight was the number of women that showed up for this race – a record for the event. This is a great indicator of the continued growth and interest in women’s racing over the past few years, and I hope to see even more movement in this direction throughout the season.
Stage 1 was an 80km road race in Maple Ridge and the course may have been my favorite local one yet. We did a total of eight laps that featured a long rolling uphill stretch, two technical and very fast descents, and a short kicker through the start/finish line.
The first few laps were fairly tame, and the team did a great job positioning well in the peloton, being patient, and letting the other teams and individual riders spend time in the wind. On lap six I was able to bridge up to a Glotman Simpson rider who put in a strong move on the relatively flat, but windy, bottom section of the course. The two of us were able to stay away from the peloton for the remaining two laps and we managed to open up our lead by over two minutes, much thanks to my teammates controlling the peloton and quickly shutting down any subsequent moves..
I gave all I had to help our break stay away and fully emptied the tank at the line, but unfortunately was out-sprinted. Overall, this was a great stage and result for the team that positioned us well in the Omnium standings going in to stage two.
Stage 2 was a 4.4 km ITT/hill climb that started out on a false flat, had a steep kicker about mid-way, and then a grind up to the finish. The forecasted rain had also arrived, and we only had a couple (seemingly short) hours to recover from the road race before our start times. However, some snacks, a fresh Louis Garneau kit, and a couple of high-fives from teammates at the line-up helped us get in to a good mindset for effort number two, and I felt ready to go.
I was able to settle in strong from the start and finish with the second fastest time in our field, maintaining our position in the Omnium standings. The rest of the team put in huge efforts all-around on tired legs, which was awesome and not an easy task! Major shout-out to Anika, who had so many watts that she broke her chain but still finished the race, chain in hand, one foot clipped-in and the other kick-pushing herself up the climb, re-defining tough.
Huge thanks to Evan and Leah for coordinating the weekend and braving the elements to support us all day at the course. I’d also like to acknowledge all of our sponsors for equipping us to prepare and perform so strongly.
Be sure to follow-up with Holly’s exciting race report about Day 2 :)