Posted by: marissaridesbikes | April 26, 2011

Podium: Easter Sunday Classic

For the first time in recent memory, the NCNCA calendar included a race on Easter Sunday. The Easter Sunday Classic uses the same roads as the Early Bird Criterium series, but in a whole new way. The L-shaped course features two hairpin turns and two ninety-degree turns. It also featured very strong winds that shattered fields throughout the day.

Marissa Axell, Rita Szeto & Elis Bradshaw lined up with a small but strong group of 15 women for the one-hour women’s 1/2/3 race. Touchstone had the largest team, but not by much — Vanderkitten brought two riders, and there were many strong solo riders from teams including Primal/Map My Ride and Metromint Cycling. The whole women’s field congregated early to heckle the riders completing the last few laps of the 35+ 1/2/3 race. The entire group lined up in the front row for our pre-race instructions (which included the information that primes would be for marshmallow Peeps and chocolate bunnies unless otherwise specified), and we were off.

Liza Rachetto of Primal/Map My Ride went hard right from the line all the way through the first 180-degree corner, using the wind to stretch out the field. It wasn’t quite enough to break up the group, but it definitely set the tone of the race. The first few laps saw a flurry of attacks from the field, but none stuck until Elis attacked coming out of the second hairpin corner and opened a large gap to the field. As she came through the start-finish the officials rang the bell for a prime, and with visions of Easter candy dancing in her head Elis kept the pressure on to take the first prime.

With both legs of the course out-and-back Elis could tell that her gap on the field was remaining steady, and soon she saw that Rachetto and a Vanderkitten rider were attempting to bridge.  With more than forty minutes left to race it would be beneficial to have breakmates, and Elis was glad when the two riders caught her. They quickly began rotating and the gap to the field began to grow. The break lost the Vanderkitten rider and the gap wavered as that team’s two riders joined in the chase. Fortunately Marissa and Rita kept the pack under control and the success of the break was guaranteed. Elis and Liza stayed away for the remainder of the race, gaining a half a lap on the chase group.

With four to go and plenty of daylight (and wind) between the break and the field, the two riders started riding strategically again, each trying to use the wind to their advantage. Halfway through the last lap Liza attacked and was able to hold it to the line. Elis was second on the day, and swept the primes.

Special thanks to all of our sponsors — we couldn’t do it without your support!

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