17 May 2014
17th. Mariposa Women’s Stage Race, Groveland
The first respite from the week’s heat wave made for a relatively comfortable hill climb, as much as could be for 684 meters of climbing across 11km. The Mariposa Women put the second day of the Stage Race into full swing climbing up from Ward’s Ferry Bridge.
The previous day’s Time Trial saw Jane Despas (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing) take a 9 second advantage over Joanna Dahl (Metromint Cycling). With Dahl a sole racer against five ICE Sportswear riders, the weekend looked to be off to a difficult start.
Dahl has been always with a positive outlook and the outlook turned for the better today.
All the credit on the climb, however, goes to Sara Bird (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing). Within 2 miles, Despas was off the back by 20 seconds. Dahl hung in with the rest of the ICE Sportswear riders but Bird crossed the finish line first after 35m 32s. Team mate Misha Fuller was second 45 seconds back with another ICE Sportswear rider, Melanie Wong, crossing in third a further 5 seconds adrift.
“I launched an attack a little more than a mile in,” said Bird, “but I knew it wouldn’t stick. I let Joanna [Dahl] catch me and recovered to get my heart rate down for the next couple of miles.
“A little after mile five would be the time to go again. Dahl was forced to sit on the front and pull us back because she was trying to defend her GC. Dahl was gaining time on Jane Despas, who was already dropped.
“I knew there was a chance to attack with a mile, mile and a half to go and see how much time I could get on her. Dahl had been doing so much work I knew she was tired. It’s a little unfair but I sat in and attacked when the time was right.”
“The next couple of races are very interesting,” continued Bird, “because there are so many time bonuses and there are a lot of cards to try an play. We’re going to see how the race unfolds. We’re going to try to get someone up the road and play for time bonuses.”
Asked whether a 66-second deficit was too much to overcome, Bird responded saying “It’ll take a lot of work but never say never.”
In other notable results, Ellen Sherrill (Metromint) took a second stage win for Category 35+; the singlespeed ‘crosser now has a 45-second lead in general classification over teammate Rikke Preisler. Anna Valta (iRT-Reactor p/b JL Velo) also made it two wins in tow and now leads GC by 74 seconds over Bethany Allen (iRT-Reactor p/b JL Velo).
The third stage for the Mariposa Women’s Stage Race is the Greeley Hill Road Race. Permutations are endless with time bonuses after every lap.
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