Normally we all gravitate to Wenatchee for the sun and best weather of the season, despite the nasty hills the race has to offer. This year was different. Rain dominated the racing and changed the field sizes cheer. But we still came to pounce and that we did.
As a brief overview, the Omnium has 3 stages that are scored on points to the top 10 placers (15 in the road race), rather than time (as in a “stage race”). Saturday morning featured a time trial of 9 miles and then a criterium in the evening. Sunday brings the pain with a very hilly road race with 3000+ feet of climbing for the women and 6500+ feet of climbing for the men in just 70 miles.
There wasn’t too much ceremony in the TT. The times posted on the website for the race were not accurate as to the real times and a few of us showed up with about 10 minutes to spare. Not ideal preparation! But race we did. Tricia showed fine form and WON her race. Christine and Michele battled the wind well and had solid showings. In the mens field Ian took 9th, nursing a flatting tire in the unbearable headwind. The masters men waited to race for the criterium later.
In the Masters criterium, we fielded a strong squad that showed some swagger all race long. Though short, the race was fast and hard-fought. A break of 5 formed with Ronnie in the mix. Savvy as ever, Ronnie stuck in the group and attacked with 500 meters to go for a convincing victory. A real beautiful victory. Hainsworth had a nice leadout and could have made a ham sandwich before the chasing pack would have caught him. First and Sixth–quite nice! And this was the only dry race of the day.
In the womens field, Tricia shredded the small field into a small group of what looked mostly like onlookers as she took every prime offered. It was a nice display of total domination that pleased the beer garden and go the kids race stoked to go. But as the rain began to fall, Tricia found out that the paint and water did not provide much traction. She left some skin on the pavement, but got herself quickly to the beer garden where the suds healed all wounds.
In the mens race, the start in the dark and rain proved too much for the legs. Gaps formed quickly and proved insurmountable. Even Hainsworth who was at the front wasn’t willing to risk life and limb to stay in. As he said “the guys at the front would have killed their mothers to stay in the race.” Ian got pulled after about 15 minutes and joined Sammy J in the beer garden for some fine, gratis Iron Horse brew. Not so sad to watch those poor bastards battle the rain through the rest of the race.
The rain was in full effect for Sunday’s big race. In the mens race, Ian went for his usual suicide attack on the 10 miles of flatland before the climbing starts. He was joined by Colin Gibson and a Canadian rider. The got a good 3 minutes on the bunch before hitting the hills where the Canadian showed he was not 180 pounds and was perhaps well rested. He dropped Ian and Colin, who rode a nice tempo, holding off the field for 2 and a half laps up the 1600 foot climb. On the third time up the hill Sammy J and one other passed Colin and Ian. Ian dropped Colin, but couldn’t match Sammy. Davis Sheppard joined Ian for the descent and disappeared right before the last time up the hill. Just as he went up the first pitches, Ian was joined by Lang Reynolds and one other Canadian. Ian couldn’t hold the pace of these two, but he held his ground up the hill. In the closing 5 km it looked like he might catch Lang, but he settled for 6th. A fine result, putting him in 10th overall.
In the womens race, Tricia battled out the climb with aplomb after hitting the deck the night before. She struck back on the ascent and finished 3rd on the stage and 3rd overall. But for the crash in the crit, she would have had 1st wrapped up. Christine rode a strong race and finished 9th on the stage. Killed it! So it was a great race for everyone and a strong display of KR’s ability on the flats and the hills. Here’s hoping for some SUN!