Posted by: marissaridesbikes | April 19, 2011

Touchstone Climbing at the Chico Stage Race

Race Report time!

Marissa Axell represented Touchstone Climbing at the Chico Stage Race on April 16-17, 2011. Chico Corsa organized a fantastic stage race, including a Women’s Cat 2/3 race consisting of a 45mile road race, 10 mile time trial, and a 45 min downtown criterium. Marissa said she felt pretty good going into the 3 race weekend.

Saturday – Chico road race:

A 45 mile road race that included 4 miles of gravel at mile 38, leaving just 3 miles between gravel and the finish line. The weather was calm and about 70 degrees, a gorgeous day for a bike race. Teams represented include 3 from Red Racing, 3 from Metromint, 1 from Fremont, and 2 Los Gatos riders. The race consisted of 14 Cat 2/3 women. Because the race was so short, Marissa expected it to be lively and fast.

The race: Fremont was a marked rider, with nobody letting her get away. Fremont attacked early into the race with Metromint, Red Racing and Touchstone following. It was chased back. Metromint attacked and got way up the road, all 3 Red riders worked to chase her back into the pack. Many attacks and counter attacks with nothing gaining any time. Marissa felt that this will likely come down to a field sprint. Every time the group hit a roller, Marissa and others tried to make the race harder, storming up the hills, stinging the legs of the riders and hopefully and opening gaps behind her. At mile 35, the attacks began in earnest again – everyone wanted to be in the front as the group arrived at the gravel section. Touchstone got to the front and embraced a hard concerted tempo effort, almost flying down the gravel road. Two Metromint riders were off the front with Touchstone. After several minutes the gravel road started to go uphill. Marissa eased off the pace slightly and unfortunately that allowed the second Metromint rider to pass. Marissa gave chase and together they both hit the pavement and headed up the final climb. Unfortunately, Marissa grabbed for another match but found her matchbox was empty, while Metromint kept pushing the pace. Marissa was swept up by a small chase group of 3 and they rode into the finish together. In the final sprint, she remained patient but was outpaced to the finish line, finishing 5th on the day.

Sunday – Time Trial:
The next day was the time trial with calm weather and 70degrees. The course was very flat, a 10 mile out and back.

How it happened: first 10 minutes hard; second 10 minutes harder; the final few minutes Marissa tried to increase her momentum and kept the pressure on. Marissa kept to her game plan, finished in 9th on the stage (she is not a time trialist and will be practicing more)

Sunday – Downtown Criterium:
With a 2:25 start time, the weather was overcast and 75 with the wind whipping up. The course was a 6 corners L shape (5 lefts, and 1 right).

The race started, with an attack on lap 2; Fremont, Metromint, Red and Touchstone continued to keep the pace fast, with attacks and counter attacks. Fast forward to 30 minutes in, Touchstone followed an attack with Fremont in it, Red Racing brought it back, but the chases were taking longer to pull in any breaks as fatigue was creeping in. Metromint attacked next, taking Fremont with her.  They quickly got 10 seconds, but Touchstone and Red gave chase with help from Los Gatos. Soon the gap was down to 5 seconds. Touchstone decided that was the winning break and was preparing to try and bridge when the Fremont rider became a victim of rubbed wheels with her breakmate. With half a lap to go, Marissa kept the pressure on the pedals, sped into the final corner, exiting to the inside and sprinted to the line passing Metromint to take first at the finish line and win Stage 3.

Congratulations to Chico Corsa for the fantastic event, and to the entire Women’s Category 2/3 field for keeping the races fast and interesting, fantastic sportsmanship was shown by all.

Thanks to GU Energy for fueling Marissa during her 3 races, and for the many water bottles she used during the weekend. Thanks to Wrench Science for keeping her bike in tip top shape. Thank you to all of our sponsors for helping to promote women’s cycling.

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