June 27, 2011

Nature Valley Grand Prix- what a week!

 The 2011 Nature Valley Grand Prix was last week down in Minneapolis, MN. I was very excited going into it.. a stage race with three crits, that’s my kind of race! Our roster for the week included Italians, Giorgia Bronzini (current world champion!) and Barbara, and Cath, Rushlee, Janel, Heather, Theresa from the North American squad.

It was such a crazy week of racing, full of ups and downs for the Colavita/Forno D’asolo team. A lot happened, here is a somewhat chronological list of a few events from the week:

Good: Rushlee earned the best young riders jersey in the stage 1 time trial!

Not too bad: It was a very rainy, slightly miserable time trial.

Good: Bronzini won Stage 2 criterium from a bunch sprint!

Bad: Cath crashed during the same rainy stage and fractured her pelvis:(

Good: Bronzini took the bunch sprint to win the Stage 3 road race, and Theresa finished 3rd!
close sprint! Bronzini 1st, Theresa 3rd
Bad: A sketchy gravel road included in this stage took out Janel and destroyed her elbow:(

Good: She still started the stage 4 crit the next day. Bike racers are seriously some of the toughest people I know!

Bad: The crit involved a crash with 39 riders on the last lap.. I was involved with that, but came out relatively unscathed. The stage was neutralized.
crashing sucks

Good: I was in a break of seven riders for the majority of the stage 5, 81-mile road race, staying away to the end. I won the breakaway sprint and accumulated enough sprint and climbing points, and time through out the race to take the Queen of the Mountain, Sprint and Young riders jersey, and move into third in GC... cool, never done that before!

Not too bad: The final stage at Stillwater featured a very steep, 21% climb that did not treat me too well after the previous day's effort. Despite strong efforts by my team-mates, I missed making the front group and dropped to 10th overall in GC and lost the young riders jersey (still happy with my finish though!).
Bronzini conquering the hill on the way to a stage win
Good: Bronzini did make the select front group of 12 riders, and won the stage! I also had enough points to hold onto the QOM and Sprint jerseys!

Final podium with all the jerseys (I'm on the far left)
Overall, it was quite the eventful week of racing for the Colavita team. We finished with 4 out of 5 stage wins and two jerseys, pretty good! There was a seriously impressive display of team-work through out the whole week of racing. I wish a very speedy recovery to my injured teammates!

I’ll write a blog soon about nationals:)

June 14, 2011

June Racing

Apologies for my recent lack of updates.. Since racing Pan Ams about a month ago, I've raced The Tour de Grove in St.Louis, the GP cycliste de Gatineau and even went home for a few weeks! Most recently I raced the Airforce classic in Arlington, VA (which I discovered is actually just across the river from Washington, DC- my knowledge of US geography is vastly improving this year!).

Tour de Grove was very cold and rainy. Colavita did still manage to pick up some podium spots that weekend. Kelly placed third the first day, and the second day Edita placed first with me in third. The finish was chaotic when a girl took the corner too hot and sparks flew off her bike as it hit the ground!

GP de Gatineau was really fun, you get to wind around on-ramps and off-ramps and there is a round-about 300 m from the finish. I was in a break for a good part of the race which was fun. We didn't stay away though. Denise Ramsden (Juvederm) countered and got a decent gap on the field. I tried to bridge across, but it just wasn't going to happen. It all came back together for a crazy bunch sprint. Thankfully the girl who crashed at the roundabout this year only crashed herself and not half the field like last year... I ended up fourth in the sprint, which I was happy with! Also Colavita took 1st and 3rd which was sweet! ( I was racing with Team Canada).

That brings you pretty up to date. Just this past weekend was the Airforce Cycling Classic where I managed to pick up my first NRC win ever! It was a bit of a Tibco/Colavita showdown since both teams had full 8 rider squads. The race consisted of two crits, and an overall omnium title. Heat was definitely a factor for the day with the sun beating down. Despite many attacks and small breakaway attempts the first day, the race came down to a bunch sprint. I finished second to Joelle (Tibco), while Lauren from Colavita joined me on the podium for third.

We were both sitting in good spots for the omnium going into the next event, the Crystal Cup. Thankfully the predicted thunderstorm held off and we had good conditions to race the technical course. The race was once again really aggressive with attacks going left, right and center. The final break was brought back going into the last lap. Cath drove the pace around the last corner and up the last straightaway with me sitting on her wheel. This was a perfect set up for the finish and I was able to jump from her wheel and hold it to the finish to take the win, this also gave me the overall omnium win for the weekend! I had so much fun this past weekend, it helps to have some amazing teammates to race and hang out with!

Next up is the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minneapolis, MN, starting tomorrow with a tt and crit! Hopefully the weather man decides his forecast for rain is wrong..

PS: If you have Facebook and are reading this, you should really go "like" the Team Colavita page on Facebook to get updates on all the racing!