|- by Laura Weislo|
Glendora, CA March 6, 2003
There’s nothing like 8.5 miles of pure climbing to take your mind off the fact that this is your first stage race, your first NRC race, your first time up against all the famous women cyclists in the US. There’s nothing like looking at the start sheet to see stars like Lynn Bessette and Genevieve Jeanson lining up one and two minutes behind you, respectively. D’OH! I had a feeling I had
a hazing coming up to initiate me into the ranks of NRC racers…
So I start, the first few hundred meters were the last blissful bit of flat road I’d see in quite some time. My goals were to hold off Lynn and Genevieve for at least a mile and to break 40 minutes. Goal number one achieved! Lynn passes me at 1.3 miles, Genevieve at 2.1. I am surprised to see Lynn in the same gear as me, only she's spinning it quite a bit faster. Genevieve flies by me like she's on a flat road, arms draped over the bars in an aero position. At my speed aerodynamics don't really matter much, but as fast as she's going, she's probably getting some benefit from that…
Humbled, I push on. Seeing a rider not too far ahead, I pick up the pace to try and reel her in. It's my minute woman, Kristy Sheffenacker from Team Snow Valley, East Coast represent! The next few miles are a haze. I look up occasionally to see the incredible views offered from the western side of the hill, but can't figure out if they are blurry from smog or all the pain. Mostly I just stare at the patch of asphalt 5 feet in front of me, the yellow line guiding me to the top.
At 6 miles I pick up my 2 and 2.5 minute women. I know there's a short downhill section coming up, and I remember it being around a switchback on the west side of the mountain. After about the third swtichback and no descent, I start to wonder if I'm ever going to get to the end! One more turn and there it is, about 500 meters of blissful downhill. At the bottom is a man taking
photos of all the riders. I had looked at last year’s photos and wondered why so many riders were smiling…
The last kilometer is a world of hurt. I swear the steepest pitch is about 300 meters from the line. Ooooooowww. I cross the line with great relief and after comparing notes with some other women, I am sure I have a top-20 time. I swear I had a 38-minute something on my computer. I fly back down the mountain with a stupid huge grin, still in blissful ignorance. I am brought back down to earth later on when I see the results posted, 32nd. At least I still reached goal #2. I broke 40 minutes by one whole second. And I’m only 7 minutes 13 seconds down on the lead.
Well, all right. Genevieve is simply amazing. The only thing more incredible that her time was that of the winning Pro man, Tom Danielson, who did a 27:51. She crushed everyone. I’m sure T-mobile, Genesis Scuba and Saturn are going to take it out on the rest of us tomorrow.
Laura Weislo’s webpage can be seen here.
1 Genevieve Jeanson Rona 32:46
2 Amber Neben T-Mobile 34:34
3 Susan Palmer-Komar Genesis Scuba 34:59
4 Manon Jutras Saturn 35:11
5 Karen Bockell Rona 36:02
6 Lynn Bessette Saturn 36:05
7 Lynn Gaggioli 4 Winds 36:10
8 Alison Dunlap T-Mobile 36:24
9 Felicia Greer Women First/Red 5 36:46
10 Katrina Grove T-Mobile 37:16
11 Dotsie Cowden T-Mobile 37:49
12 Julia Whiteside Minute Maid/Dasani 38:02
13 Kristin Johnson T-Mobile 38:05
14 Grace Taylor-Fleury Genesis Scuba 38:07
15 Jane Despas Team Bioc 38:11
16 Jessica Phillips Saturn 38:35
17 Rhonda Quick Women First/Red 5 38:37
18 Kristin LaSasso Rona 38:38
19 Amy Moore Saturn 38:41
20 Katheryn Curi LGBRC 38:41