Nature Valley "Stage 1" and Stage 1 again

By now on the various cycling news websites it has been well documented that the first stage was a complete washout for both the men and the women. Thunderstorms and constant rain soaked the course and the officials decided to start the fields anyway. MANY crashes later, the races were neutralized and or discounted.

We had 2 casualties: Nikki and Iona. Nikki broke her frame and had to get a new one and came away with some road rash. Iona hit into the barricades which had hay bales on the OTHER side of them (good thing the barricades are being protected, not the riders crashing into them) and suffered a concussion. They decided that stage 1 would not count as too many women got taken out.

Fast forward to stage 2, ahem stage 1 again, and we started everyone minus Iona, just to rest her head. This stage was filled with attacks from the get-go. After a windy, rolling road race section, and a crash involving Tina and Shontell, the field entered the finishing circuits for 5.5 2mile laps. The girls all worked well to cover moves and stay up front and Tina did an especially good job with positioning and staying tough after the crash here to take the win.

We have no photos...boy do we miss Tiffy and her camera.....maybe we can score some later.....

Tina in yellow, Kristin in the best amateur jersey.

Commerce Bank Liberty Classic

CJ Farquason took this photo at Philly and it pretty much sums it all up for the race!!! Tina had a crash on the first lap on the descent off Manuyunk, hitting a bump, hands sliding off and saving it until hitting barriers. Shontelle and Nikki hung back with her as Iona, Ali and Tiffy monitored the action at the front of the race. They ended up doing a monumental effort bringing her back up to us which cooked them for the rest of the race. Once she was with us and we determined she really wanted to try to stay in, especially after the effort those two put out bringing her back up to us, we continued to monitor the front and get into moves, cover attacks while trying to rest her if it came to a bunch kick. The fact that she pulled off 6th with the pain she was in showed how tough she is. It was a fun race as there were many attacks and people not content to sit in. The heat made it tough, and there was only a select group going for the sprint at the finish.
Good teamwork, even though it would have been nice to be on the podium, we gave it what we had and we had each other's backs at all times.
Next race for us is Nature Valley Grand Prix.

Commerce Bank Triple Crown #1 - Lehigh Classic

Today we were treated to a little bit of a step up in pace in women's racing as we are starting Philly week. On the line today were Ina Teutenberg and the Cervelo Lifeforce team that added a bit of Euro flavour to the race. Right from the start it appeared that Cervelo Lifeforce"s intent was to set a high pace to shed some dead weight. After the first few laps, many attacks were made and absorbed and re-shuffled and finally one rolled off that contained 8 riders. Alison was covering that one and made that move. It contained Laura Van Gilder in it but not Ina or Tina. It was only a matter of time that Ina would look for a good opportunity to bridge, and we certainly wouldn't have minded getting another one of us in as well to increase our representation in the break.
When Ina attacked to bridge, both Shontelle and Tina were ready but the problem was that Erica Allar from Aarons was directly on Ina's wheel in front of Tina and Shontelle and slid out in the last corner leaving Tina and Shontelle to skirt around while Ina continued powering up to the break. A chase ensued to bring one of us closer to jump across, whilst up ahead in the break, it was being shattered. Ali made the front selection of Ina, Laura and Sarah Duster from Lifeforce Cervelo. That was good, and we concentrated on absorbing the other 5 left behind, so that the field sprint would be for 5th place rather than 10th.

Up ahead, there were attacks and Ina won followed by Laura and Ali took 3rd place. Tina won the field for 5th.

Overall, we were satisfied as we came with four today and had decided to have 3 cover and get into breakaways and save Tina in case of a sprint. That is pretty much how it worked out and it was a fun fast day. Great job Ali P!!!
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CSC Invitational: Dre on the podium!

CSC was a short circuit(only 1 km) with many turns and some good bumps and manholes......which made for some necessary handling skills! Amazingly, there was even a crash at the line (!) as we were starting! So we tried to set the pace high from the start so that we could make it as smooth as possible and swoop through the corners safely. After some attacks and reshuffling of breaks, one rolled up the road with Andrea in it and stayed off almost lapping the field. The only problem was that the race officials left the many clumps of girls on the circuit that had gotten lapped and this was so confusing. We couldn't make sense of how close Andrea was behind us which was a shame as it would have been SO cool to have had her back in the field so we could have given her a leadout!!!

She was a trooper and handled the pressure of being in the winning move and tried to attack her breakaway companions knowing they were sprinters before finally having to sprint. So, with Andrea in the break handling the podium for us, we did a mini-leadout for Tina to win the bunch sprint, which she duly took care of.

Next up.....part of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown Series: LeHigh in Allentown

Huge congrats also go to the boys who had Luca and Luis in a 12 man break with some big protour team names, they lapped the field and then the rest of the Colavita boys completely drilled themselves to set up a furious lead out train for them with Luca taking the win.
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