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Stage 3 Tour of Willamette
Eugene, Oregon
74 miles
April 12, 2001

Epic is the only way to describe the day. Rain and certainly cold rain make anything epic. No doubt it is miserable out - wet, cold, bad roads. The courses here are on hilly narrow roads. The center line rule is strictly enforced.

After the QOM a group of us chased back on. As we caught the lead group, (about 2/3 of the way through the race, a bit before the hot spot sprint) I attacked and got a gap. I rode for a while all alone, taking the top points and time bonus at the hot spot. Shortly after that, Erin Carter, Sandy Espeseth, Kim Smith (AutoTrader), and Katrina Berger(800.com) joined me. Erin and I started rotating. The rest rested. At the feed zone, at the base of the 11-mile climb the field caught us. Erin and I shot to the back of the field like rocks while our climbing teammates took over.

Sandy motored away with Caroline Alexander, Katrina Berger, Kim Smith, and Allison Dunlap. Caroline had mechanical difficulties and Katrina punctured on the very steep, dirt/gravel/mud section. They caught back on. Caroline then ended up doing some off-road on the way down the hill. Kim attacked close the finish, Katrina covered her. Sandy sprinted to win. She also took the leader's jersey by two seconds.

Stage 4 Tour of Willamette
Eugene, Oregon 64 miles
April 13, 2001

Still epic. Today we started out in hail. Actually, our race was delayed for thirty minutes due to the total disorganization of this race. They changed the course - I think they didn't have enough marshalls for the original route. When the men were finally on the start line to start, the hail started - big ol' nuggets of ice falling on the ground and staying in tact. Our team huddled in the car, with our race clothes on and the heat cranked. The masters went off then the cat 3s. Then, it was our turn. The hail had stopped, the rain turned to drizzle.

The first big move was after the first climb. Erin, Anne, three Autotraders, and some others got up the road. Caroline, Jessica, and I chased that group.

As we neared them Erin dropped off the group and helped us chase. Sandy was in our group. After the second climb Sarah Ulmer got off with Anne. The pack pretty much let them go so they gained lots of time. Then (poop) Anne got a flat. Sarah waited (forever) while the disorganized neutral car changed the flat. They started up again and then, (double poop) Anne got another flat. Sarah didn't wait.

Meanwhile, Intersports was setting up for the hot spot sprint so Sandy could get the final bonus seconds available. Caroline, Erin, Jessica and I helped her out and she beat out Katrina for three seconds. On the final climb, Erin set a good tempo, then Jessica did the same. Caroline attacked. AutoTrader chased. Anne was caught. Sarah raced for the finish line. I got dropped. Sandy won the field sprint for more time bonus seconds.

Stage 5 Tour of Willamette
Eugene, Oregon 12 mile time trial
April 13, 2001

Still cold - just above freezing. The course was lightly rolling with one mile-long climb very close to the start.

This was probably the most difficult time trial I have ever done. Sandy Espeseth was in the lead going into the stage. This afternoon we have a criterium and tomorrow will be another road race. It was decided that Erin, Anne, and I would ride easy to save ourselves for the upcoming racing. This afternoon's criterium could be critical. I've never ridden a time trial easy - ever.

Since I began racing, I've been good at time trialing, so each time out, I have raced the hardest I can, with the best equipment I could possibly buy/find/borrow/steal. Today, Sandy used my slick TT helmet. In the cold, I wore a long sleeve, mock turtleneck, poly-pro, heavy fleece gloves, an earband, and knee warmers. I did ride the super-slick, Javelin time trial bike. I didn't really warm up. I've always wanted to race a time trial as a sprinter - just easy. I thought, how great to get a day off, a time to spin my legs out a bit. It is also super cool to be so Euro-pro to be riding totally as a team rider - sacrificing my race for an overall win. Just the same, it was difficult to do so. The riding - at low tempo pace -- of course, was easy. Getting passed and finishing at the bottom of the list was difficult.

Katrina Berger rocked for first place. Then came Allison Dunlap, Kim Smith and Sandy in fourth. Unfortunately, we've lost the leader's jersey.

Stage 5 Tour of Willamette
Eugene, Oregon
45-minute criterium
April 13, 2001

This evening, Eugene warmed up and we raced without leg coverings. I wore the sprint jersey since Sandy, who has the sprint lead, wore the climber's jersey. The criterium wasn't as critical as we had hoped since Katrina won the time trial in such convincing style. Sandy lost more than a minute and a half to her. Allison lost a bit more than 30 seconds and Kim Smith just under 50 seconds.

About a third of the way through the race, Sarah Ulmer and Anne got off the front. They were brought back. Erin countered and Sarah went again. That turned out to be the winning break. Back in the field we still worked to have Sandy win time bonuses - though unsuccessfully.

Sarah Ulmer being the super sprinter she is took the stage win. Erin took second and the sprinter's jersey.

Stage 6 Tour of Willamette
Eugene, Oregon
65-mile road race with lots of climbing
April 15, 2001

Sandy started the day in fourth and we really wanted to get her onto the podium. Katrina was first, Allison Dunlap second, and Kim Smith third. There was a hot spot 14 miles into the race. We wanted her to get points and she did with some great teamwork by everyone covering the AutoTrader attacks making sure no one got off the front. Sandy won the seconds even though there was no line on road to indicate the location of the sprint.

Then AutoTrader went on the offensive and sent riders up the road. The break that stuck was Tina Mayolo (AutoTrader), Jessica Phillips (Intersports), and Stacey Peters (800.com). They all worked, including Stacey. The field, meanwhile, chatted and rode easy. The break had more than five minutes at one point.

At 22 miles we hit the climbing. Allison attacked up the side, taking Kim and Sandy with her. They caught the break towards the top. Katrina wasn't able to hold on early. Sandy lost contact past the first QOM on the flat stuff at the top of the ridge. So, Kim and Allison were up front, then Jessica and Sandy, then Katrina. That's the way the race finished. Jessica worked really hard through the final QOM, down the descent, and along the flats to the finish. Back a bit further was a medium group with three AutoTraders, three 800.coms, Erin, Anne, and I, along with a few others, like Ruthie Mathes.

Allison won the overall, Kim took second and Sandy finished third.

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