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Stage 4: The Big Criterium with a Big Crowd!

Today was a spectacular day. The sun was bright and clouds came in and out of the New Mexico sky with winds that could sweep you off your feet — or bike in our case! I’m happy to report that no of the women were blown off their bikes but it proved to be a very challenging day at the Tour of Gila Crit! Webcor was on the warpath to move their rider from 3rd to 2nd since only 10 seconds separate the two. There is no way anyone could make up time on Kristen Armstrong who is over 3 minutes ahead in GC. However, with only 10 seconds between Allison Powers and Kathryn Mattis, the stage would be set for a tough ride in severe winds.

The race started fast – which is not unusual. It would let up at times, however, Webcor was on the front just drilling it and launching attacks. The pack was so strung out at one point, I wondered how many women would get “popped” from the pack. We had two riders come off in the beginning of the race; however, they kept riding so minimize the time gap. The thing to remember in a crit like this is that they usually “pro-rate” your time, so never quit! This will help you start the next day. Not everyone is a good crit rider, so if you get pulled, don’t worry — you will “live” to see another day. Of course, it’s important to improve so that you don’t get time added to your GC,but it does take time to get comfortable in a crit, especially if you are more adapt to road racing.

Marilyn, Heather, Melanie and Kathryn did a great job today. We are not know for our sprinting capabilities, unless Mary Hall is in the field so our best bet was to stay active in the pack and not lose any time. That was a good strategy as Marilyn moved one more place up to 26th! Heather in still in 30th and Melanie actually moved all the way into 35th! Kathryn launched an impressive flyer in the race and took a couple of girls with her. They were quickly caught as this field was now allowing any breakaways. It came down to a good sprint with a rider from Lip Smackers taking the win! The Specialized D4W women all came in at the same time and did a great job.

There were record crowds at the crit today, thanks to Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner and some other big pros. The people in the crowd were so excited about cheering them on and it was great because the women got a ton of exposure to a great crowd. And believe, me, they didn’t disappoint , the crowd who was extremely impressed with the women’s race! It was fun to stand, listen and observe the crowd.

A special thanks to Nippy Feldhake who has been helping us all week! He has been a great addition to our team with feeding, helping get ready for racing, our photographer and all around support. He made our lives so much easier and better this week. We couldn’t have done it without him and we want to thank him! Thank you Nippy!

We have now moved up to 6th Place in the team GC! Way to go ladies.

Tomorrow is the monster of all races — the Gila Monster! Unbelievable and epic. This truly separates the final GC and we are hoping to do some great things tomorrow.

The girls are gaining strength as this race goes on. I can’t wait to be in the team car behind the race watching it unfold. We have a great team with great potential and everyday we get stronger and stronger.

Stay tuned for our next update . . . .

-maggie

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