by Lisa Mueller
A self-selected group of two dozen hardwomen crossed the rain-soaked start line at yesterday’s misty Mount Hamilton Classic. The point-to-point district championship course has earned its “classic” designation by virtue of its base-to-summit “warmup” followed by a risk-taker’s descent (cattle guard IN A HAIRPIN, anyone?). And don’t forget the extra 50 miles of undulating, head-windy racing to the finish that often lets the over-90-pound set contest this race.
Amanda “The Animator” Seigle (Metromint Cycling) stayed true to her reputation by attacking from the base of the mountain. But it was the climbing specialists’ attacks that made the decisive selection halfway up the hill. The first women to crest the QOM point were Flavia Oliveira (DNA Cycling p/b Plan7), Amy Thornquist (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18), Cristina Hughes (Hub Coffee Roasters p/b Tahoe Carson Radiology), and Mariposa Stage Race winner Katie Hall (Metromint Cycling). Chasers were not far behind, but the treacherous descent widened gaps and formed new ones.
50 more miles, yadda yadda yadda, and the breakaway remained intact, notwithstanding a puncture that forced Hall to drop back to the support car. Oliveira led to the finish line, but Hughes came around her to win. This makes Hughes’ second win in a break-out season. Thornquist, always a threat on this course, finished third.
More on the men soon…
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