Tour of the Dragons was held from May 4 to May 5 in the Vermont surrounding areas. The event consisted of an individual time trail, a circuit race and a road race.
To win the general classification (GC), Wetzel finished 4th in the individual time trial (11 miles), 4th in the circuit race (50 miles) and 3rd in the road race (71 miles).
Below are impressions of her participation in the stage race.
Race Summary by Stephanie Wetzel
We arrived in Londonderry, Vermont on Friday night at about 8:00 p.m., surprised by the real victory of the weekend – instead of having to set up a tent in the quickly-fading sun, we were offered a guest bedroom; while I’d gone along with the idea of camping out, I definitely appreciated the luxury of a bed!
Tour of the Dragons is a two day stage race acclaimed to be “The Most Challenging Race in New England. Saturday consisted of a 10.7 mile time trial (TT) followed by a 50 mile circuit race, wrapping things up on Sunday with a 71 mile road race.
My top-notch mechanic/husband (also my soigneur, photographer, driver, feeder, etc.!), Jon, started dialing in my Quintana Roo Lucero with a Profile Design disc wheel almost immediately upon arrival at the race headquarters. Knowing that the TT is such a pivotal part, I did my best to stay focused and get a good warm up in. My only strategy for the stage was to bury myself from start, burn up all the matches I could find, then dig deep to find some more. Over the first three or four miles I was thrilled as I continued to pass girls, knowing that I was moving on up. A little over half way through, heart rate maxed out, legs burning, I was worried I’d done too much. The voice of my coach, Matt Koschara, ran through my head…reminding me that once I hit about mile eight, it was mostly down hill from there…I knew I had to keep hammering it out and survive. Crossing the finish line only meant one thing – time to refuel and prepare for the afternoon’s circuit race.
While chowing down enough food for an army, and what seemed like several gallons of water, I couldn’t help but overhear the banter of other racers whose field raced the circuit course in the morning. The word on the street was that the course was a bit of a nightmare; consisting of a 16 mile lap with over six miles of loose gravel on top of washboard dirt roads, people flatting everywhere, a monster dirt climb and a struggle just to stay upright. By then the results for the TT were up, and I found myself sitting a little over a minute back in 4th place, only seven seconds off of the podium. My goal for stage two was just to survive and not lose any time, knowing that Sunday’s stage was going to be where things could really shake out. I managed to stay upright, persevered through some major cramping, and my Kenda Volare tubulars held up nicely through the miles of unfriendly dirt and gravel, resulting in yet another 4th place finish…but due to some unfortunately luck for my competitors – put me in first place for the GC. I was thrilled to head into Sunday with the leader’s jersey!
On Sunday I was able to form a bit of an alliance with some really strong riders that found themselves out of the GC chase (due to some unfortunate luck in the circuit race, and a mechanical issue in the TT). I was only 10 seconds up, and knew who I couldn’t let out of my sight; many of the concerns faded when a pack of four of us got off the front after the first monster hill less than a dozen miles into the race. We worked together to get quite a lead. I burned lots of matches staying with a group of really strong riders, as falling off the back was NOT an option with 2nd place in GC also in the lead group. Between the hills and the blazing sun, it became a race of attrition, and three of us sprinted for the finish line well ahead of the rest of the field. With leg cramps returning, I knew I didn’t have much of a chance for a sprint, but coming in 3rd still meant that I got to hang on to the leaders jersey and get the overall win.
This was my second time racing the Tour of the Dragons, and while I won the GC for the Women’s 3/4 field in 2012, I never imagined that a year later I’d find myself on the top of the podium in the Women’s Pro/1/2 field. I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve received from my team, sponsors, husband, coach, fellow racers, family and friends..and so so hopeful that I’ll keep moving on up!
Produced by Terra James
The 60 miles Pawling Mountain Road Race was in held in Pawling, NY. Laura Ralston won the race and provides a brief summary of the experience. “I won Pawling Mountain road race yesterday (it was the NY State road championship; however, being a Massachusetts resident did not qualify me for the title).
“I had a great race. The course was quite hilly and there was a selection on the first climb which split the field. Then halfway through the race I got away with two other riders and in the last 10 miles it was down to two of us..with 200m to go I launched my sprint and managed to take the win.”
The Western Michigan Stage Race (WMSR) was held on Saturday, May 19 to Sunday, May 20.
We were graced with excellent racing weather on both days – both days were filled with clear skies and sunshine with temperatures upward of 80 Fahrenheit.
The event consisted of a TT (7.2 miles), a criterium (30 minutes women 3/4 and 50 minutes women 1/2) and a road race (60 miles for the women 1/2 and 30 miles for the women 3/4).
In the women’s 3/4 categories, Amanda Schaap and Ellie Burke both Michigan residents placed first and seventh in the overall general classification (GC). While in the women’s 1/2 categories Sheila Orem, Krystal Lacy-McNutt and Beth Lauer placed fourth, seventh and ninth.
We invitie you to view the WMSR website for complete results.Julie McGraw Photography (used with permission)
Race Report by Laura Ralston
Winning the collegiate criterium at 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships for the second year in a row was a fantastic moment. The day before the race my team mates and I had talked in length about the race and we had decided that if we could make a break happen with at least two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) riders in it that would be the safest way to guarantee podium spots.
We sat tight for the first two primes letting other riders do more work, and threw in some attacks immediately after the start/finish line. After about the third prime the maneuver started to break things up and with a bit of hesitation from the pack we were able to form a break of three- myself, my team mate Katie Quinn, and Mariske Strauss (the current South African cross country mountain bike champion and rider for Mars Hill College). We knew Mariske could be a strong rider, so we tried to be careful not to let have an easy ride in our break.
After a lap or so, she opened a gap on Katie’s wheel, so I let her suffer to see how tired she really was, and after another lap she was still not back on Katie’s wheel so I jumped past Mariske towards Katie. Katie managed to get my wheel and we dropped Mariske, and time trialed the rest the race.
I have to say I really loved riding my Blue AC1 in the race – the night before I reviewed the frame specs and was excited to learn to experience what an aero bike it really is. With a borrowed set of deep rim wheels, I felt like I was flying during the break, and it was an awesome ride. When it came down to the last lap Katie agreed we should both start our sprints coming out the last corner but she was generous and gave me a lead-out coming into this corner, and I think she knew how much I really wanted the win.
Laura Ralston of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) repeats as Collegiate National Criterium Champion. The MIT Cycling team earned 1st ,2nd , 3rd and 5th respectively.
Lauren De Cresenzo (Emory University) finished 12th in the same race. Complete results for the D2 women’s criterium of the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Ogden, Utah can be found here.
The Women’s Cycling Social is scheduled for Monday, February 27 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Heritage Bicycles, 2959 N Lincoln Chicago, IL. The event is hosted by Team Kenda p/b Geargrinder. This is a FREE event and RSVP is required.
DATE & TIME: Monday, February 27 – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Heritage Bicycles
Address: 2959 North Lincoln Chicago, IL
RSVP & INFORMATION BY VISITING http://bit.ly/wKdpET
(Walk-ins welcome, only women who RSVP will be eligible to raffle prizes)
PRIZES Swag to win includes messenger bag, team hats, Hoo Ha Ride Glide® and much more!
DEADLINE TO REGISTER: Sunday, February 26)
The official Twitter hashtag is #chibikesocial
Team Kenda: @teamkendaW
Heritage Bicycle: @HeritageBicycle
Roscoe View Journal: Women’s Cycling Social, No Boys Allowed