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Megan Alderete celebrates her start at ThirstyBearCycling with GREAT VICTORY at Bariani RR

Bariani Road Race, March 17th 2013.

Women’s Cat 4: 2 laps, 28 miles; Result: 1st Place

With over 60 women in the field, I reluctantly approached the starting line.  Seconds before the whistle I thought I heard a gunshot, but it was merely an exploding tire, fortunately on the bike next to mine. It was a welcomed wake-up call.  As soon as her wheel was changed, the whistle blew.

My only goals for the day were to A) not get in an accident, B) not miss a break, and C) position myself for a sprint at the end. The center-line rule proved extremely frustrating. As we rolled out, I found myself near the back of the pack on the left. It seemed nearly impossible to move up safely through the annoyingly slow swarm. By mid-lap, I eventually managed to move through the middle and up the right side on the shoulder.

As we approached the rollers, a handful of strong riders emerged to quicken the pace.  A couple Mintie women and a strong SoCal gal on Ritte tried to get in a break, but I made sure to stay on their wheels, and we managed to shed about half the field.

I rolled through the first lap (going into the last) at wheel #2 and tried to work with the Ritte gal ahead of me to get in a break. My garmin registered 34 MPH as I tried to pull in the front (there must have been a tailwind!). No luck. I tried again by pulling to the far side of the road, but no luck. Then I tried to get the six or so riders at the front to work together, but only a couple women were willing to work. We slowed, refusing to carry the 20 riders who were left in the group. In hindsight, it was probably the worst time to try for a break.

Someone yelled that the gap behind us was closing, so we tried to organize a double paceline, but like before, several women refused to pull through. I let myself fall toward the back of the 20 to recover as we wound through the turns of the back country roads.

The pace quickened again at the rollers, and the group morphed into single file. I positioned myself as wheel #2 or #3. Positioning rapidly changed as various women tried to break or move up. I hopped on any strong wheel that emerged to keep my position. With one mile to go, I hopped on a Dolce Vita wheel, and we managed a small gap. I thought this is it, I have a chance.

BUT THEN, a moto stopped us before the last turn due to a helicopter and ambulance tending to an accident on the overpass. All 20 women rolled up refusing to hold their positions. We were held for 5 minutes as the helicopter flew off and the rest of the field caught us at the stop (the woman was in our race and reported to be conscious). We pleaded with the moto to let the lead 20 have a few seconds gap for a safer sprint. He finally caved.

So there it was. Instead of a 28 mile race, we were unwillingly signed up for a 0.5 mile race with one turn and 20+ women at the new start. I figured I had no chance.

 

Megan sprints to the finish and wins Bariani RR 2013
Megan sprints to the finish and wins Bariani RR 2013

Rounding the turn, I fought for my wheel #2 positioning. Two single file lines graced the flat at 27 MPH. At 300 meters, I pulled to the side, let out a war cry, and sprinted seated. Two women hopped on my wheel. I put my head down and kept going. When I looked up, I was nearing a crowd of people, but didn’t see a finish line. I thought I had much further to go when the two women tried to come around me. Fortunately, I looked down and saw the white line as I crossed with about a wheel’s length ahead. 1st place. Surreal.

Thanks for reading.

See all results here. Megan is now added to the hall of fame! Welcome on board.

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