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Tour de 'Toona Stage 5 "Blue Knob"
Altoona, Pennsylvania, July 31, 1999

The final road stage at the Tour de 'Toona is the infamous 90-mile Blue Nob, Horseshoe Bend climbs race. For the last few years, a steep dirt road climb has been included as well. The first and often deciding climb comes at mile 50. Every year, I've done the race, we ride mellow until the climb and the split happens there. Not this time.

American women's racing has picked up
"Racing here this year seems fast. The level of American women's racing has picked up. 'Toona is always fun for the women because there's a separate cat 4 race and there's the pro 1-3 race that gets equal mileage and equal prize money as the men's pro race. " -- EE

This year a break including Rene Marshman (Celestial Seasonings), Erin Carter (Canadian National), and Nicole Freedman (Schwab) took off around mile 35. They never got too much time because Timex chased hard. Odessa Gunn, Kendra, and even Julie Young (2nd place GC) went to the front and picked up the pace. At the base of the climb, the three had about a minute. Nicole dropped off early on.

Rene and Erin were able to stick with the lead group at the top, which was very large. It seemed, from where I was dropping off the back, to be about 40 riders. I ended up sticking with the group and played yo-yo with them for miles - getting dropped, catching on over and over. Finally, at the dirt climb, I came off for good. Unfortunately, I ended up riding alone for most of the rest of the race.

Up ahead, I believe a smaller group formed on the dirt climb including, Anke, Kathy Watt (Navigators), Kim Smith (Celestial Seasonings), Chrissy Redden (Canadian National), and Cybil DiGustini (Elita). They continued on and Anke attacked on the final Horseshoe Bend climb getting impressively and quickly a ten second gap. At 13 seconds, Kathy Watt made a move to catch her, finally doing so, miles down the road. At the finish, Kathy took first. And our own Kim Smith won the three-up sprint for 3rd place, a podium spot, and a package of Benzel's Pretzels.

 © 2000
 Elizabeth Emery
 John Tomlinson
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