Race report “The Jailhouse Race”
June 16, 2012
Who raced: Alicia Silvera (Cat.2); Lisa Papworth (Cat. 3) (Note: The majority of the pro women squad was racing at Nature Valley)
Summary – What originally planned as a 3.75 mile circuit race was changed to a .75 mile crit due to the Pitchess Detention Center very recently having to withstand a large influx of new inmates from other facilities. This year’s race course included the lower portion of the original design, an exciting and very technical awkwardly shaped course, around a jail house. The course looked challenging, but fun, considering good bike handling skills were a must. There was a slight rise on one side of the course and a slight decline followed by a very tight turn on the other side.
Although the women’s pro race started with “only” 21 riders, there were some very strong contestants including Kendall Ryan (UCI WPT), Katie Donovan (Colavita Racing), Suzanne Sonye (Helens/Cannondale). It was pretty clear that the course called for a break away, and for me before the start, it meant if I wanted to finish top 5, I needed to be in the break. Our race started at 9:45am, so the heat was not nearly a factor as for the pro men, which raced in the unbearable heat of the day. During the first few laps we were testing the course and tight turns, although pretty much right after lap 4, the field strung out and a 5 women break started to form, including Suzanne Sonye, Kendall Ryan, Katie Donovan, Emily Georgeson (Helens/Cannondale) and myself. We quickly gained time over the field and settled in. Katie attacked a few times trying to get away solo. Given that she is a great time trialist and the technical course, we knew not to allow her to get away.
About 30 minutes into the race we ended up lapping the field and from what I could see, a few riders were dropped and out of contention. Our break away group also dropped Emily Georgeson and we were down to four women. Just before 5 laps to go, I decided to attack in the back stretch just before the slight rise of the course. I opened up a nice little gap, but unfortunately Katie instead of bridging up by herself, brought the other 2 girls with her. Well, it was worth a try.
The last few laps picked up in speed and after the bell lap, I was in fourth position, conserving my energy for the final sprint.
Right before the last corner, the tight turn going downhill, Kendall jumped and cleared the turn in first position, Katie Donovan right behind her took the turn so wide that she almost took out Suzanne and me that was behind her had to swerve through the outside of the turn. Suzanne was able to catch herself and started her sprint. For me at that point, a too wide of a gap had opened up and with the strong headwind into the finish line I was not able to catch up to Suzanne or Kendall in time before the finish line. Kendall won the race, Suzanne came in second place and me in third. The prize list for the women’s pro paid out to the top 20 riders and the winner also received a very cool hand crafted trophy by the inmates of PDC.
The “Jailhouse Race” was a great race venue and a very well organized by Serious Cycling. The only thing missing was being able to celebrate with my teammates.
A big thank you to La Grange for their great sponsorship and support.