by Ivy Audrain photo: Chris Shepley Photography
The Tour of Walla Walla! One of the best attended and toughest stage races in the Pacific Northwest! Although the Women’s field did not race the Friday Waitsburg road race this year, myself and stellar guest-rider Tamara Bessette were eager to make the most of our three stages.
After finishing 6th in the time trial and 47 second down from the leader, there was a ten second bonus for a stage two win up for grabs, which would put me into fifth overall. And how convenient, stage two was the fast and technical downtown criterium, right up Tam and I’s alley! I have had experience leading out superstar KR sprinter Jocelyn on this course before, so Tam and I knew that it needed to be fast with at least one lap to go…. and man did she make it fast. With one lap to go, when Tam hit the front, it was so unbelievably fast that only three other riders were able to match the acceleration, creating a gap to the rest of the field. It was perfectly executed, I won the sprint with plenty of room, and nabbed that ten second time bonus while Tamara was able to hold of the field and finish 4th. Did I mention she is my Mother? At 52 years old she produced an effort that shattered a category 1/2 field. A very emotional day and win for me, and for my own Mom to play such an integral role in such a huge win was an incredible feeling.
On to the road race! My mind is still numb from being in a 40 mile break that began on one of the steepest climbs on course. Six other riders, including the overall leader, worked hard to establish a gap that put us six minutes ahead of the field. I finished 5th on the day, and moved into 4th overall! Tamara attacked the chase group and after an astonishing solo 28 mile effort, finished just over a minute behind us, moving into 7th overall. Such an incredible effort.
A very successful Tour of Walla Walla in which KR showed depth in a really strong field! Thanks for reading!