The Pan Am Championship road race was this past Sunday. It was a 96 km road race consisting of 6 laps of a tough circuit containing two short, but steep climbs. The combination of heat and altitude (7000 ft!) made the race pretty challenging.
We knew going into the race that the American team would be the team to beat as they had three of the best cyclists in the world. We also had some of the best cyclists, but also strength in numbers with a full team of six riders.
Our original plan for the race changed quickly when Clara broke away with a rider from El Salvador while descending the second climb of the day on the first lap. Wow can she corner fast! We weren’t really sure if the breakaway would succeed being so early in the race. With Clara off the front, the US team was forced to chase to try and bring her back. The rest of us Canadians did our best to thwart their efforts, and the gap grew steadily. Some of the other teams were quite active in the race and set a blistering pace up the climbs and threw down some strong attacks. It’s been awhile since my legs have burned that bad! Going into the final lap it was evident that the break would not be caught. They had increased the gap to over 5 minutes! This meant our group would have a sprint for third. We tried to set up a lead out for Joelle. It didn’t quite succeed and Theresa took the sprint for third, with Joelle in 4th.
Overall it was an awesome day for Canada with 5 riders in the top 10. Clara took gold after attacking her breakaway partner on the last lap. Joelle finished 4th, Denise in 6th, Heather in 8th and I finished 10th. Karol-anne finished with the pack in 25th after throwing down an impressive last minute attack to increase the speed going into the finish. This race qualified Canada another spot for the World Championships which is pretty cool.
I’m now in Little Rock, Arkansas. Yesterday was quite the travel day! Up at 3 am, Medellin- Miami- Chicago- Little Rock, arrived at 10pm. I really need to learn to sleep on planes.
Next up, Tour de Grove in St. Louis for some crit racing.
I'll upload a few photos when I get a better internet connection!