The Mighty ‘Claw

This past weekend, the KR women (Tricia, Cheryl, Heather and Christine) raced the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race, consisting of a time trial and criterium on Saturday, and a 60-mile road race on Sunday.

The TT course this year seemed harder than last year, mostly due to the wind, but Tricia pulled off a great race, winning by about 15 seconds. Cheryl also nabbed 5th, only 5 seconds out of 3rd.

The crit began in a downpour, with the women who started in front (our team’s GC leaders among them) deciding to keep it strung out as much as possible. That they did, Tricia and Cheryl managing to work themselves into a small group of riders off the front, accompanied by Jenni Gaertner (Riverstone), Leah Guloien and a guest rider of Total Restoration, and Jessica Cutler (Cucina Fresca), with a few other teams represented, for a total of about 12 riders in all. Cheryl mixed it up early to take two time bonuses of 3″ and 2″, as well as a $50 prime! Tricia took 2nd and 3rd in lots of primes. Too bad 2nd and 3rd in primes doesn’t count. Luckily 2nd in the race does count – for a 4″ time bonus and $30. The GC after the crit had Tricia in first and Cheryl in second. A great showing for the KR girls on day one.

Unfortunately, Sunday didn’t end up as well.  Despite a great early attack from Christine that got her up Mud Mountain with Gina (bikesale) before the pack, Tricia gapped from a group of 10 at the top of the 2nd hill and Cheryl was a bit further back. The group of 10 had 3 Total Restoration, Jen Wheeler (HB), Jessica Cutler, Kristine B (Westwood), Suz (bikesale) and 3 more. That meant lots of tt power, all the strongest climbers, none of the 3 top GC and no KR. The group knew they’d gapped us and got it together quickly for an impressive paceline.  Tricia worked with one girl from Glotmann Simpson who gave it her all, but they couldn’t close the gap. So close, but then the two got caught by Cheryl, Christine and the pack. Unfortunately that pack was all of the cat 3s (being scored separately) and the remainder of the 1/2’s with teammates now in the money for GC . Jadine (TGH) had dropped out, and Jennie G (Riverstone) flatted before the 3rd hill with no support.  Despite our best efforts with a bit of help from some sympathetic 3’s, the front group put 7 min on us, and all but 1 stayed together to the finish – just enough to put us out of the GC money completely.  Too bad it wasn’t an omnium.

We worked well together as a team, but we can all agree that we missed Kele and Amy this weekend.
The KR men also flexed some muscle at the Claw, and finished in the money.  The dark and foreboding skies saw Spencer, Galen, Jamie, Colin, and Ian enter the 1-2 race, while JOD rolled in the old-dudes’ race and Karl was in the 3s.   Galen and Spencer owe Karl beers for having lost to him in the time trial.  Colin did a nice time on his new/old TT bike.  Jamie finished 11th in the race against the clock, while Ian cracked the top ten, finishing 7th.
The criterium was either the best of times or the worst of times depending on how quickly you clipped in and got to the front.  Ian and Galen had the chance to hit the front early and they stayed there all night.  The hands just kept slapping the face of this race as they went for prime after prime.  Ian came away with two fat money primes and G just missed one by inches.  Back in the middle of the field, Jamie, Colin and Spencer were dodging riders as they skidded across the pavement on their rain-soaked asses.   There were about 7 crashes due to the weather and incompetence.  Happily no KR guys went down.  In the end G took 10th, with Spencer and Ian rounding out the top 20.  Given that this was a timed event, pack time is happy time.
The road race looked to be a slaughterfest from the start.  Jamie did solo coverage duty as the teams were throwing attacks for the 6 miles before the climb up Mud Mountain.  It was thanks to Jamie’s relentless work that we hit the climb together.  Hearing Jamie’s call for reinforcements, Ian sprinted up to the head of the field and managed to get over the mountain in the lead group.  From there, Ian got into a nice little break with 4 others.  The pack sat up and the break got up to 5 minutes at one point.  Ian was about 40 seconds behind the overall leader, but behind Sam J from HB.  So things were looking good for an overall GC spot.  The last time up the hill, Ian’s belief that he’d get dropped was made to come alive and he saw his hopes at a stage win scurry away.  He held out for 4th on the stage and picked up enough time to finish 3rd in the overall.  Back in the pack, Spencer stayed with the main group and finished strongly.  Jamie was in a chase group, while Colin and G bowed out early to get food and suds.
The Claw dug in, but the KR team scratched back, happy to have a podium in a big NW stage race contested by over 90 riders from Canada on down to Oregon.  Crit season is upon us and we’re hunting for Victoire.

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