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The ThirstyBear Cycling ladies takes control at Merco

Merco Almond Blossom RR Women’s Cat 3/4 March 3rd.

Chris & Tanya at the front, controlling the race.
Chris & Tanya at the front, controlling the race.

Merco was the first race of the year the ladies’ team had not just one but three Thirsty Beers(yes, this was how my team listing somehow ended up in cyclocross this year) in the same race. We like to capitalize on this when possible, but we were concerned about being three small hill climbers in a mostly flat race. Fortunately Hans helped us with a race plan. I was especially excited about any plan at all to try to avoid having a painfully slow and uneventful race ending in a full field sprint like last week at Snelling.

Chris, Jenny and Tanya after a great race they controlled from beginning to end.
Chris, Jenny and Tanya after a great race they controlled from beginning to end.

Our plan basically was to attack and counter attack as much as possible on any little roller that came up and see if we could form a small break or at least drop part of the field. Tanya and I alternated attacking repeatedly starting about 5 miles into the race but the field had us pegged early on and a few particularly vocal riders seemed to be watching our every move and broadcasting to the entire field that the Thirsty Bear gals were plotting evil hill sprints again. Jenny put in at least two excellent counter attacks when we thought we were maybe starting to tire people out. Unfortunately none of our breaks managed to stay away for very long, but we did shed about 15 riders off the back. The race slowed down in the last 10 miles as we were taking a quick hiatus from the attack mode and no one else from other teams was willing to make a move. It came down to a sprint finish at the end, with 2nd through 8th place finishing within a second of each other. We finished in 6th, 8th, and 15th. Our new team recruit Megan was positioned well and put in an excellent final sprint for 2nd place. We had a lot of fun, got a great workout in, and enjoyed learning to race more aggressively with help of teammates! Hoping for hillier races to come.

Thanks to Chris Lundy for a great post.

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