Posted by: marissaridesbikes | March 20, 2012

Sprinting onto the Podium at Land Park

**Land Park Criterium presented by the Sacramento Golden Wheelmen in William Land Park, Sacramento, CA.**

On a chilly but dry Saint Patrick’s Day, Rita, Carol, and Marissa toed the start line in Sac-town under surprisingly dry conditions. According to NorCal Cycling News “The kidney-shaped crit course, set amongst the links of a municipal golf course, has good flat paving and two, short “dog-ear” detours at its north end.” The dog ear corners make for a fast, flat and technical course, lending an advantage to those that corner well.

This year the Stevens p/b Pactimo and Metromint teams came to the crit-party with the most numbers, comprising half of the 22 person Category 1/2/3 field. Though Touchstone was outnumbered, they were mighty! The race began rolling around, getting a ‘feel’ for the corners before the real attacks started. Touchstone maintained position at the front of the field, ensuring good position to follow the attacks anticipated from Stevens and Metromint.  Mid-way through the race, Marley Smith (Stevens) counter-attacked, taking Rikke Priesler (Metromint) with her. Unfortunately Touchstone was unable to immediately respond. Soon, Touchstone realized the breakaway would stick for the remainder of the race and therefore it was up to Touchstone to do the majority of the chasing. As Carol and Rita worked exhaustively on the front trying to manage the gap, this meant it was “game on” for Touchstone to win the field sprint.

As the race entered its final laps, Touchstone riders Carol and Rita were replaced on the front by the Stevens leadout train riding for their sprinter, Mary Ellen Ash. Touchstone’s Marissa Axell patiently played her cards, hanging close to the Stevens leadout train. The last lap arrived with Marissa still firmly attached to Mary Ellen’s wheel. With the finish line fast approaching, Marissa jettisoned around the Stevens rider to win the field sprint and take 3rd overall for Touchstone Climbing.

Land Park Podium 2012

Marissa Axell (Touchstone Climbing), Rikke Priesler (Metromint), Marley Smith (Stevens p/b Pactimo)

Rikke Priesler (Metromint) wins the overall race, Marley Smith (Stevens) in second, Marissa Axell (Touchstone) was third, Mary Ellen Ash (Stevens) in 4th and Jane Robertson (Metromint) in 5th.

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