• The Seven Sisters – Racers Crest Mount Tamalpais

    by  • September 17, 2013 • race coverage

    Special thanks to Colin Daw (Fremont Bank Cycling), Alison Tetrick (Exergy TWENTY16), and Katie Hall (Metromint Cycling) for contributing to this report.

    12 miles. 2000 feet of climbing – which is done after 5 miles of flat-as-a-pancake road along Bolinas Lagoon on Highway 1. Climbing the 8 miles up through thick wooded forest with the sound and smell of the ocean ever present, Bo-Fax (Fairfax-Bolinas Road) divides and onto Ridgecrest the racers compete, where the view clears up and the Seven Sisters greet riders with wide open visibility of rolling hills to the West Peak, home of the finish line for the 51st Mount Tamalpais Hill Climb, hosted by Golden Gate Velo and ThirstyBear Cycling.

    Sighted right after Bo-Fax splits and racers continue past the ranger's gate onto Ridgecrest to face the "Seven Sisters" to the finish, where the dense woods part ways to wide open views of the coastline and Marin County.

    Sighted right after Bo-Fax splits and racers continue past the ranger’s gate onto Ridgecrest to face the “Seven Sisters” to the finish, where the dense woods part ways to wide open views of the coastline and Marin County.

    “I’ve never seen the course”, said Colin Daw (Fremont Bank Cycling).  Not knowing how high or how far the road would go was a big uncertainty, which made for a difficult time in planning tactics for the race. Ambiguities aside, Daw would attack out of the men’s P/1/2 field with two miles remaining before they would take the right turn onto Bo-Fax from Highway 1. With Ned Overend (Specialized/Durango Wheel Club), Daw would work with the renowned mountain bike athlete to be joined by Steve O’Mara (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) and Keith Wong (VuMedi p/b Lombardi Sports) after hitting the climb and progressing towards the Seven Sisters of Ridgecrest.

    Mountain biking legend racing for Specialized and hometown Durango Wheel Club Ned Overend trails the chase group after putting in a big effort up Mount Tamalpais.

    Mountain biking legend racing for Specialized and hometown Durango Wheel Club Ned Overend trails the chase group after putting in a big effort up Mount Tamalpais.

    “Steve and Ned got a gap, but [we] caught back on at the top Fairfax at the ridge “, recalls Daw during a post-race interview. After regrouping, it was then that the 23 year old from Saratoga, California made his move.

    Colin Daw (Fremont Bank Cycling) emerges on the fourth Sister "Teresa", as it is named on Strava, looks back to gauge his gap in the men's P/1/2 field.

    Colin Daw (Fremont Bank Cycling) emerges on the fourth Sister “Teresa”, as it is named on Strava, looks back to gauge his gap in the men’s P/1/2 field.

    “I attacked on the first sister…[just] put my head down and just hammered…I was doing  like 550 up each rise and trying to recover on the downhill…Turning myself inside out, they kept the chase on hard”. Wong would give chase, but once the group had reached “Tamara” (the sixth climb as it is referred to on Strava), the effort diminished as Daw would cross the line and claim the top spot for the first podium of the day.

    Men's P/1/2 Podium: Colin Daw (Fremont Bank Cycling) 1st, Kevin Wong (VuMedi p/b Lombardi Sports) 2nd, Steve O'Mara (Mike's Bikes p/b Incase) 3rd.

    Men’s P/1/2 Podium: Colin Daw (Fremont Bank Cycling) 1st, Kevin Wong (VuMedi p/b Lombardi Sports) 2nd, Steve O’Mara (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) 3rd.

    For the women’s pro field, Mill Valley resident and native (as well as the previous year’s winner) Alison Tetrick (Exergy TWENTY16) had much more in-depth knowledge about the course: “I regularly train on Mt. Tam, and it is the quintessential climb of the North Bay. The times of the hill climb are very dependent on the speed of the peloton on the flats [of] Highway 1 along the Bolinas Lagoon into the turn onto Bolinas-Fairfax Road. There was a significant head wind along the 5 mile approach to the climb, and the speeds were slower. However, once you reach the climb, fireworks always occur, as they did today”, she recalls in an interview after the race.

    Alison Tetrick (Exergy TWENTY16) uses every aero advantage possible to stay ahead with a long sleeve skinsuit (with thumbholes!) and shoe covers. At twenty seconds behind Hall, she would finish second.

    Alison Tetrick (Exergy TWENTY16) uses every aero advantage possible to stay ahead with a long sleeve skinsuit (with thumbholes!) and shoe covers. At twenty seconds behind Hall, she would finish second.

    “Things exploded as soon as we took the right on Bo-Fax”, recalls Katie Hall (MetroMint Cycling). “Mary Maroon (SBRacing), Susannah Breen (Folsom Bike/Cervelo), and Ali were all pushing the pace real hard on the early pitches of the climb. It quickly got down to Ali, Susannah, and me. I think we lost Susannah about midway up the climb. Ali continued to set a very hard pace”, said Hall post-race. Hall would then attack on one of the rollers as the pair emerged onto the Seven Sisters to secure the win.

    Katie Hall (Metromint Cycling) climbs "Teresa" (named on Strava), the fourth of seven sisters in the final miles of the women's P/1/2/3 race on Mount Tamalpais.

    Katie Hall (Metromint Cycling) climbs “Teresa” (named on Strava), the fourth of seven sisters in the final miles of the women’s P/1/2/3 race on Mount Tamalpais.

    “My legs were fading … I was just hoping to hold onto the small gap I got with that attack and it worked!”, Hall recalls.

    Women's P/1/2/3 podium: Katie Hall (Metromint Cycling) 1st, Alison Tetrick (Exergy TWENTY16) 2nd, Susannah Breen (Folsom Bike/Cervelo) 3rd

    Women’s P/1/2/3 podium: Katie Hall (Metromint Cycling) 1st, Alison Tetrick (Exergy TWENTY16) 2nd, Susannah Breen (Folsom Bike/Cervelo) 3rd

    For more expanded coverage including the master’s 35+ and 45+ 1/2/3 fields, please visit NCNCA Road.

    Photos by Alex Chiu Photography. More photos available here.

    Full results available on USA Cycling.

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    Alex Chiu is a local photographer in the NorCal cycling scene. After dabbling a bit in racing (and not doing very good at it), he decided to pick up a camera and take pictures at the races to still be a part of the action. Chances are if the race is within a 2 hour driving window from Sacramento, you'll find him somewhere along the course. You may find his photos at http://acaurora.smugmug.com

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