Ina Teutenberg is just a block of sexy on a bike.
just thought i’d mention that.
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The gig with VanderKitten started with a Tulsa Tough weekend of crits and a wicked cash grab of $150K. It was good, small town NRC racing where all the squads aren’t full, but the combined sharpness of the riders make a fast, furious bit of racing.
A lot of NorCal riders were in effect ~ Shelley Olds (my coach for next year) raked in all kind of bank for her podiums throughout; and the Fraga-nator’s BPG crew were out there kickin it wild with Jeska making fun of them every chance she could (though i didn’t get to catch up with them too much as there was movement in and out of storm situations for all the races … including Jeska seeing a wheel float away from the pit).
The VK riders performed well in Tulsa, scratching some good bucks in the bank and setting the stage for a productive week of Philly prep. The Triple Crown this year was Allentown, Reading, and then Philly. Each race was epic in its own way. Philly was the big show, obviously … and what a smashing success it was. In no way would i say that Philly underperformed this year. I can’t wait to go back.
Allentown started the week … with a sick-crazy course – far too little course marshal’d making me puckered up in worry most the day – but chock full of heated bodies scorching for more speed and curtain calls. All the big hitters were there … and it seemed everyone wanted to blow out the travel in their legs and get in that one good wammer of a workout before Philly.
Lizzer went smoothly into the break midway through the race. It was a very, very good break, but the course was demanding and the field never really let up as a lot of teams were left out of the move. InaT ripped the break in half and only VanGilder and Powers could stick with her. Behind, the rest of the break rode hard to stay away, but would get absorbed with 2 laps to go. Even out there all that time, Lizzer tried to leadout Sanborn for the sprint.
Reading was different. Reading was a more established venue and had more crowd control and … pressure. With the longer circuit of 1.8 miles … it was very difficult to remain in contact with the racers. But, our goal was simple … do what it took to keep all four of our starters at the front of the race and in the race. We needed to establish ourselves as riders deserving space in the peloton.
And we did.
Reading was a pure attrition fest. Midway through the race, the field had been decimated in half by the combined powers of all the big NRC squads – Cheerwine, Colavita, Cervelo, Aarons, Tibco, VAC, and of course … the Ina.
And we had all four of our VK riders in the lead group … which was incredibly satisfying. The break went up the road with Ina, Armstrong for Cervelo, VanGilder, Powers for Colavita, and Kiesanowski for Tibco. The powerful break hovered between 10-30 seconds most the race … with VAC doing a ton of work at the front. I asked VK rider Flavia Oliveira to work at the front as well, but only as much as she was comfortable with because I still wanted her finishing in that lead group. Liz Hatch heard the call and signaled that she was feeling the heat and would use up her matches in the chase with Flavial, making the excellent decision that her energies could be used better there and leaving Wilson to protect Sanborn in the sprint.
It worked magically. We had a break of 5 up the road … the perfect break for us because they were all big champions and deserved the highlight. We VK had a chance to show ourselves in the chase as a team that would contribute, but also seek out our own results. So, we split our resources into 2 riders assisting in the chase, while big future powerhouse JenWilson took charge of leading out our rider for the Triple Crown, Melissa Sanborn.
Earlier in the race, Sanbo had flatted her tubie and squirked a good line through the final corner to keep it safe and managable. I saw her coming in and told her to relax and head over to the pit with no worries. On such a long circuit as Reading … getting a flat at just the right time can work magic for the recoveries. Hey, it’s not cheating – because the gods call down flats under 5-laps to go MORE than they do with a dozen remaining, trust me. So, soaking in the good karma of a perfectly timed flat is … nothing to feel too much guilt about.
Unless you run out of karma.
Which, we did. The MAVIC neutral support gave Sanbo a wheel COMPLETELY OUT OF TRUE! Shit on a shingle, Sanbo had her breaks rubbing the entire finale of the race … a race she could have tested out her legs against none other than Tina ‘the empress’ Pic.
I was livid. It irks me when something like that takes a result away from a rider (and program), but still … it’s bike racing and part of the game. Another one of the many things that make bike riding so sweet … because eventually you’ll get on top of that gear and feel the rush of meeting the speed of your true potential.
Can’t wait for more!
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