16th Mariposa (née Kern) Women’s Stage Race
20 May 2013
Rob Van Houweling contributed to this report.
Storming at 55+
Perhaps one of the best rides for the Mariposa Women’s Stage Race was put in by Camille Deluca-Flaherty (Vello Bella). Racing Women 55+ and on the last day, Deluca-Flaherty stromed away from her category riders and proceeded to put in a time that saw her finish 32 minutes ahead.
Furthermore, her average lap time was only bettered by a handful of racers in Cat 3 and 4. Deluca-Flaherty modestly said she simply took the opportunity to put in some endurance work and shied away from overtly celebrating her effort.
With six categories there was plenty of racing at this stage race. For Category 4, the racing came down to a battle between Tiina Aardemae (Velo Girls) and Amanda Schaper (Ritte Van Vlaanderen).
Schaper had won the stage 1 time trial, besting Aardemae by 1’44″. In the stage 2 hill climb, Aardemae won and gained back 65 seconds. Both riders recorded the same time at the Greeley Hill Circuit Race leaving a 39-second advantage to Schaper going into the final stage.
With a 4-lap, 77km race requiring 300 meters of climbing per lap, Aardemae and Schaper had everything to race for. “I just wanted to stay with Tiina [Aardemae],” reported Schaper, “because I knew if I could finish close to her that I would be in the safe zone. We stayed together and put in a lot of work, leading about 80% of the race together.
“There were about four different times [on the last lap] that people tried to break. We bridged up to them to make sure that risk didn’t happen.
“It would have been nice to win the [final] stage but I was happy to stay close to the front.”
Schaper took second on the day, just behind Aardemae, to capture the overall win. Amy Bruski, Trudi Schindler (Velo Club LaGrange), and Cheryl Sweeney (Velo Club LaGrange), in that order, took third, fourth, and fifth in race.
“The thought crossed my mind [to go for GC],” remarked Aardemae, “but I think all of us girls were exhausted and happy to stick together. I was considering trying to sprint at the 1K mark but I hung on and pushed myself at the last 200m. I was very happy with how I placed overall.
“At first I was thinking I don’t have any sprint in my legs. Luckily they didn’t cramp up and I just gave it all-my-all. I finished. I was excited.”
Category 3 Women
Kaitlin Benner (B4T9) won the time trial on a TT bike borrowed from a friend. It was an indication of more to come. At the hill climb, Benner went hard from the whistle, almost instantly narrowing it down to Megan Alderete (ThirstyBear Cycling), Misha Scovill (Stevens Bicycle Racing), Elise Hazlewood (Red Racing), and Sabrina David (Metromint Cycling). By the first flat section it was down to Benner, Scovill, and Alderete. They finished together, with Benner taking the win by a wheel length over Scovill. Hazlewood was not too far behind.
Apart from a few riders who lost contact at the end of the second lap in the circuit race, due to a hard sprint up the hill for the first batch of points, the pack generally stayed together. The three leaders from the hill climb were happy to regroup on the downhill after stringing things out on the points climb. Attacks on shallower sections of the course, including the lead up to the finish on the last lap, came from Hazlewood, Melanie Wong (Leopard-Sapporo Team), and David, but no break ever organized. Benner and Alderete were first and second over the climb each time and for the finish.
In the stage four road race, Heather McDonald (Metromint Cycling) attacked towards the end of the first lap and stayed away for two laps, with the field dropping a few others but the chase turning on and off frequently. McDonald nearly caught up to the 1/2′s at one point. Once the remaining field regrouped, David, Hazlewood, and Alderete each put in some serious attacks clearly looking for a break that could make up GC time on their nearest competitors. With Benner comfortably in the top GC spot and the other 5 riders in the group closely matched, nothing got away for too long.
The pace up the last long climb was relatively mellow. Scovill attacked through the last set of rollers but didn’t get away and it came down to a bunch sprint with the six remaining riders. Alderete went early to take first with David (2nd) and Scovill (3rd) close behind. Benner did enough for the overall win in the category.
Donkeycorn and Mariposing
The Mariposa Women’s Stage Race is a top-notch and tough event that has equally more meaning to participants than just the racing.
This year, in particular, had a bittersweet element given the tragic accident last year taking the life of Suzanne Rivera. In acts that simply shows the personal significance of the stage race, and the love for the sport of bicycle-racing, many of the winners returned their earnings. The prize monies went to either the Western Women’s Collegiate Cycling Conference, in Rivera’s name, or back to the event itself, or to both.
There was also an enjoyable silly-side to the weekend. There was the invention of a new verb to Maripose, defined as posing for the camera whilst racing at the Mariposa Women’s Stage Race. Credit for the new act as well as expansion to the English language goes to Velo Bella riders Elizabeth Benishin, Andrea Atkins, Linda Locke, and Erika Donald.
And then there was this…
A Word from the Man
Race officials at MWSR temporarily listed a fine on the GC standings after Stage 3 – for rule 8A5(j), re-crossing the finish line. The fine was lifted but it is worth a brief mention for riders to exercise caution after finishing and avoid crossing the line in front of officials.
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