Watsonville Criterium – Women’s Race
13 July 2013
Mary Maroon (SBRacing) had a matter-of-fact race and secured her second Watsonville Crit win in as many seasons, and her third in four years.
Over the past few years, Velo Promo’s Watsonville Criterium has attracted keen but small racing-fields. Yet, it is a terrific course and always seems to produce good racing.
The 0.8-mile course has several turns including a 150-degree corner. There are also dips along the way and a short hill up to the finish line. Recent years have seen breakaways lead to the race win.
‘Mints, ‘Mints Everywhere Nor Any Drop to Drink
The small field of ten riders in the Women’s race had numbers from Metromint Cycling. This left a difficult task for non-Dots Amy Russo (Mellow Motors), Jane Despas (Leopard-Sapporo Team), and Maroon.
The early pace was controlled and gave the impression of a waiting game. It was Lisa Mueller (Metromint Cycling) that made the first serious attack to get away on a solo break.
Mueller stayed out for a number of laps until she was brought back by Maroon, Russo, Despas, and Ellen Sherrill (Metromint Cycling).
Surprisingly, just as Mueller was caught, she got away again and managed another solo break. With the race winding down, Maroon put in a chase and caught Mueller. They circled the course for a couple of laps with Maroon looking in good shape.
“I was alone longer than I expected to be,” explained Mueller. “My team mates were great controlling behind me. Then Mary [Maroon] caught up to me with a couple other women and I thought my shift was over. I was half happy my shift was over because we have so many numbers today. I knew I had team mates in the field that could counter.
“Then, all of a sudden, they were gone. Maybe they were disorganized. I was alone again for a few more laps on the red line and then [Maroon] caught up to me by herself.”
Mueller continued in jovial tones, “When she caught me she said ‘I’m so sorry I left you alone for so long.’ I was thinking ‘no you aren’t, you’re a good bike racer. You don’t have to bluff.'”
“I knew my odds were not very good against her. It’s a gamble; I was off for a good chunk of the race so I thought it was less likely that I would stay away. But it was a good race.” Mueller was pleased with her effort despite coming off the worse for wear during yoga exercises earlier in the day…a locust or warrior pose.
As Mueller and Maroon reached the short rise to the finish, Maroon had a good lead. Her confidence was undeniable as she sat up early for her victory salute.
“I expected [Metromint] would probably attack a lot, which is what they did,” described Maroon, “so I tried to stay near the front and keep moving with them.
“There was some weird group dynamics in the pack. We almost caught [Mueller] but she still had half-a-second on us. Then the folks behind her sat up so she regained her gap. She kept powering through, which was awesome, and she got her 15 seconds back again.
“I just tried to get to her again and stay off with her,” continued Maroon. “I just wanted to be in a break with her. [Mueller’s] cornering was excellent.”
A determined-looking Sherrill won the three-way sprint to take third ahead of Russo. Despas closed out the top-five. After a long lay-off for a broken wrist, Sherrill showed good form without any signs of fatigue. The off-road racer was tasked with covering Despas in the race.
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