By Monique Quandt-Collier -- Ronde van Brisbeen - * Omnium * (W4) -- 04/01/07
It was Janelle, Jessica and me for the Ronde van Brisbeen Highland Circuit race on Saturday and our plan was simple. As you know the course is half downhill and the other half uphill with the start/finish at the top. We knew the climb would be tough and since it was just the 3 of us, we figured we?d stay with the pack as long as we could to see how aggressive the field would be and then do something tactically fun at the end. And sure enough the climb and pace proved to be tough. We started with about 30 and most of the time up that hill, we had a Stanford woman just hammering, so throughout the race the field eventually whittled down to half. Jessica and I did a good job throughout generally checking in on each other and taking each other?s wheel and/or helping to move up the pack. On the last lap and last time up the hill, Jessica attacked at the bottom and I was in a good position to ease up and block the pack a bit. She had a great gap for a while there, but it got chased down. The same Stanford woman towed us even harder up the climb and I found myself on 3rd wheel about 200 meters from the finish. When a few women started flying past me, I was doing my best attempt at an uphill sprint but it was all I could do to get a bike throw in for 6th place. It was a bummer to have such perfect positioning for once in my life, but my legs didn?t have the snap. Jessica did great, but couldn?t really sprint because she had attacked just a few moments ago. Janelle ended up working with a couple other gals for most of the race, and got a great workout in as she had hoped.
For the Ronde van Brisbeen Sierra Point Crit on Sunday, it was just Jessica and me. Since the primes in the race are worth points, Jessica suggested I try and go for them to move me up in the Omnium. There were only 18 women for this crit, which turned out to be a real luxury considering all the turns and the hairpin on this course. There were 4 Dolce Vita and they absolutely dominated the race. They set a super high pace from the start and at one point, I looked up at the timer and saw that we had 40 more minutes left to race. It was one of those moments where I just shouldn?t have looked. It did let up, but then they started attacking in twos. Those all got chased down, but even if someone bridged they seemed to let up; that was the only odd thing. I know I bridged to one of those attempts and they appeared to sit up. Jessica had bridged as well and they also let up. The odds were still in their favor for a break, but I guess they had other ideas. Anyway, the first prime comes around and Dolce Vita set that up and won it. I was in poor position so I didn?t even contest it. For the second prime, Dolce Vita again was setting it up, and wow, this time, I was on second wheel. This Dolce Vita woman had led the pack for the whole prime lap and I still couldn?t out sprint her. It was frustrating for me; amazing effort for her. At 5 laps to go, all 4 of them were lined up and it was clear to me who the sprinter was. It seemed like they were setting up their lead out too early, so my goal was to just sit on their sprinters' wheel and see what happens. They were dialed though, Starla still had someone leading her out for the last lap, and she won the race with a good gap. I wasn?t even close to coming around her, but came in 2nd place and Jessica came in 3rd! Great race for them, truly impressive getting both primes and the win. Jessica was great with chasing some of their attacks and/or bridging and even watching out for me. I was truly surprised to see that the 6th place at the Circuit race and 2nd place at the Crit gave me the win in the Omnium! How cool is that? I got to stand on the top podium step and everthing, it?s really high up there!