HP LaserJet Women's Challenge
Stage 12 Criterium & Stage 13, Final Day
Boise, Idaho, May 19-20, 1999
After moving into 17th place overall from the TT ride, we decided I would finish the race to maintain a top 20 position and 9th place team classification. All the same, I would take it as easy as possible.
The crit here is always super fast and aggressive. Right away we zoomed off the start line. Eventually and early on, Ina and six others got off the front, motored along and lapped the field. Another group went off the front. Then another group went off the front. In the end, the top 16 places had broken away from the main group. There were also many riders going off the field in the opposite direction. While all this was going on, I rode around staying on wheels, conserving energy and marveling that I could sit easily in the field, taking advantage of corners to move up when necessary. Not surprisingly, Ina took the sprint. I moved to 19th.
Today, the race was only 82k. There was a hill a third of the way through. The points jersey (sprints, mountains and stage placings combined) was still up for grabs. Anna Wilson wanted to keep that jersey. To do so, Saturn planned on being aggressive to get a break off to take all the points away from the other contenders. The first three K were neutral because there was tons of gravel in the first corner, which led to a 300 meter gravel dirt road, which, it turned out, was almost unridable. At the end of the dirt the field stopped, regrouped and waited for those who had mechanicals.
The red flag went down and Clara Hughes took off. Until close to the bottom of the climb when things calmed down, the pace remained high. On the climb the field strung out. I ended up in the second group, just off the front. On the following descent and flats we all got back together. The rest of the race was mostly controlled. At the end, we did two laps in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Again, not surprisingly Petra won. It was her turn since Ina won yesterday.
Now we rest up, pack up, and fly off to Cincinnati for Nationals.
Thank you to everyone for all the support throughout this race and for the congratulations on the TT. It has meant a great deal to me in many more ways than I can tell you here.