Posted by: marissaridesbikes | March 6, 2012

OG Merced CRIT: Touchstone races onto the podium!

One of the longest running criteriums in NorCal has to be the OG Merced Crit. With the interesting technical aspect of careening full speed through a driveway around the Merced County Courthouse, this course deserves its place on the calendar as enduring Spring Classic. The day saw 25 racers toe the line with Touchstone Climbing bringing Rita and Ann to race the 3s (they were picked separately) and Heather, Josie and Marissa to race the 1/2s. Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Team Exergy Twenty12, Stevens p/b Pactimo, Vanderkitten, Colavita-EspnW,  Cycles Fanatic and Tibco II were represented as well.

The women’s race began about 30 minutes late, but kudos to VeloPromo for adding a ‘last minute’ Women’s Category 4 race, creating a positive and safe race experience for all category 4 racers. Thanks to Velopromo for making the change!

The race began with a few attacks to soften up the field, and immediately Josie was attentive and up front monitoring the moves.  Early in the race, the solo Colavita-ESPNW rider shot off the front and the pack dared each other to chase her.  Vanderkitten, Team Exergy, Optum Kelly Benefits and others took turns attacking the field to try and bridge the gap. The peloton got within 10 seconds of the Colavita-ESPNW rider but the chase let up and she regained time on the peloton. At last, the field reeled her in, and Touchstone Climbing performed incredible selfless teamwork, keeping the field together for a field sprint. With 2 to go, a Cycles Fanatic rider and Stevens rider assumed control to ramp up the pace. Touchstone Climbing riders Marissa and Heather moved up toward the front. Rounding the final corner, Marissa sprinted off of second wheel, moving to the right gutter and taking the shortest line to the finish. Team Exergey’s Rhae Shaw accelerated up the left curb, out-sprinting Touchstone to the finish line, with Vanderkitten Vanessa Drigo racing across for third.

Incredible job done by Josie, Heather and Marissa to garner a solid podium result sandwiched between Team Exergy’s Rhae Shaw and Vanessa Drigo of Vanderkitten!  Special thanks to all of our sponsors, we’re thrilled to represent you on the NorCal podium!

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