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HP LaserJet Women's Challenge
Stage 6 Team Time Trial
Massacre Rocks State Park, Idaho, June 13, 1999

By Giana Roberge

This was my first ever team time trial. The course was 40 kilometers out and back; the profile in the bible was deceptively flat. It seemed as if we were either going up or down; and, we had the proverbial head wind out and back. I would be complaining quite severely had I been out on this course by my lonesome. Having my five other teammates actually made the race fun.

Look good and smooth
"An NBC TV camera man, on a motorcycle driven by Maynard Hershon, followed us almost start to finish. Because of the TV time, our goal was to look good and smooth.
We haven't been riding together long and only a few of us have ever done a team time trial. There is so much involved in racing a good TTT, much of which is about knowing the other riders on the team. In addition, there are the regular time trial techniques such a taking the shortest line, not going out too hard, riding a good turn around at the halfway point. It is the hardest, most fun of all cycling events.
After an initial 3K of bobbles, discomfort, and mediocre form we hit a good rhythm and worked well together. Leah Toffolon put in an incredible effort and impressed the hell out of me. She is young rider and this event was new to her.
The team finished 5th for a wonderful podium spot for Celestial Seasonings. Plus, of course, some beautiful TV time." -- EE

It took us about three kilometers to get used to rotating through on our aero bars and in our different positions. Prior to the start we had worked out that I would lead us out, with Sarah on my wheel, followed by Annie, then Sophie, then Cybil, and keeping the team's cohesion was Kim at the back. It worked great. We all took our turns at the front, careful not to surge, but trying to raise the speed a little each time. I now see how important a test the team time trial can be. We all had to continually communicate who was suffering, whether the pace needed to come up or down, and what distance we were at.

We finished a respectable sixth place. The time of each team affected only team general classification, not individual classification; a relief to some riders who we passed dropped from their team's paceline early into the race. The time of the third rider was the time given to the team. Every rider needed to finish the race, however only three had to finish within twenty percent of the winning team's time. Longo's team was the only team to break the hour with a winning time of 59:01. The Dream Teamers (HP Toner -- Mari Holden) were second, with Canadian National in third.

Today was the longest transfer we have had yet, with almost four hours of driving time to reach Pocatello. Tomorrow is a doozie of a day with 175 kilometers and three mountains facing us. The temperature promises to be in the mid nineties and I am sure the race will be one of attrition. People are beginning to tire; answers are given in one word, or less if a grunt is appropriate, and even eating becomes an effort. We still have seven days of racing to go; the next week will test even the strongest of riders.

The race has a great website -- check it out at www.hplwc.com.

 © 2000
 Giana Roberge
 & Elizabeth Emery
 John Tomlinson
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