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PowerGirl Christy Smith finish 3rd overall at Madera Stage Race

Christy Smith impressive podium finish at Madera Stage Race
Christy Smith impressive podium finish at Madera Stage Race
Last week, after much indecision and encouragement from our ThristyGals, I finally pulled the trigger and decided to give it a go and registered Wed night…
So, I start searching for at least aero bars for my bike & at the lunch ride Thursday Ron offered to let me borrow his actual TT bike!!  Yay Ron!!  And one of the Kovaras riders said he would bring me his TT helmet & bars for my bike (just in case).
Friday I picked up the bike from Ron & left early to try to get out there early enough to pre-ride the TT & see if I could actually ride the TT bike for 10 miles (1st time ever on a TT bike or in aero bars).  So glad I had a chance to do at least do that…
Saturday morning was our crit – they combined us with the 35+ women, who ended up convincing the course director to give them a 30 second start ahead of us.  So, that ended up making for a very cat & mouse crit and basically a sprint at the end since no one wanted to work really (& we still had our TT coming 3 hours later).  I ended up 3rd, about a wheel behind 2nd.
After the crit I pretty much picked up lunch and headed over to the TT course.  There I finally saw Tom, DQ & Shawn.  It was nice to see some familiar faces, especially before the TT.  There is some energy in even knowing there are team mates around.
It seems the wind had shifted since the guys went in the morning & I had head winds on the last 2 stretches.  The women who went before me both managed to get out of site after the 1st corner, but on the 3rd leg I finally saw a carrot, and I managed the catch the 1:30 woman ahead of me basically at the finish line.  So, I ended up in 3rd with 1:27 lead over the 4th place woman.  I really enjoyed the TT, and learned a few things for next time & look forward to working on this a little more…
Sunday for the road race they did actually have us roll out together with the 35+ woman.  For my field the woman in 1st, Tiffany, basically told me she was going to sit on my wheel all day, and the woman in 2nd, Kelly, said she was going to sit on Tiffany’s wheel.  After we came around the corner past the finish line on lap 2 – there were 2 of the 35+ women who took off, part of me wanted to jump on that, but both the woman ahead of me in GC would have no problem holding that as well, and even Tiffany said later she had wanted to jump on that as well, but there was no reason too.  Being as I was really focused on defending my GC, I decided to not risk blowing myself up trying to hold on with a break, especially since the women I would need to gain time on would have gone with me (since they were, as promised, sticking close to my wheel).  It was definitely a different road race strategy knowing the overall goal was the GC.
Last lap we self neutralized to get away from the rest of the 35+ and have a lap & finish of our own.  My biggest concern all race was flatting on the broken, bouncy, crappy section of road…  So, knock on wood, no flats.  =)
The woman in 2nd, lead her teammate (who was in 4th behind me on GC) at the very end for the RR finish (she gave her teammate a lead out in the crit too –  maybe they were hoping the time bonuses would be enough to get both of them podium spots since the teammate who gave up the wins was a strong TT rider).  I ended up crossing in 3rd again, but had enough time that even with time bonus the 4th place rider still couldn’t pass me in GC.
So, for us, the TT was really our deciding race overall.  Even with the time bonus’s in the crit & road race, it was still the TT that really set our places.
I’m really happy that I went, I learned a lot & it was a good race to get a feel for stage racing.  Thanks to Ron & our ThirstyGals for the encouragement & equipment to get there!!
Christy
  =)

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