Katherine, Kailin, Catherine, and Kiki represented Team Belladium at the Joe Martin Stage Race the last weekend in April. Katherine and Kailin began their weekend of racing on Thursday with a 2.5-mile time trial, a climb with an average grade around 6.8%.
The field of Pro/1/2 women was stacked this year, with ladies from national teams like Tibco, Optum, NOW and Novartis, FCS, Kenda, and ISCorp. Tennessee had teams represented as well, with us from Team Belladium and a group from I AM Racing. Thursday was a beautiful sunny day as we climbed the mountain in Devil’s Den State Park. Katherine’s time of 11:19 in the Stage 1 TT put her in 29th place of the 52 riders, behind the overall leader by 1 minute, 51 seconds; Kailin’s time of 12:53 put her in 50th place.
In stage races, times matter; your overall time throughout all stages of the race determines your overall finishing position. In addition, if you do not complete any stage, your are not allowed to advance to the next stage and compete in that race.
The Stage 2 road race was a point-to-point 60-mile course that included one field sprint and a 9-mile climb. The day started out rainy and cold. The rain let up during the race, but the cold never did. The long climb separated the field significantly. Katherine found herself in a chase group that included 9 women, and she finished in 37th place, 8:31 behind the lead group of 27 women. Kailin was in the next group behind Katherine and finished in 46th place, 12:50 behind the leaders.
The Stage 3 road race was a 70-mile lollipop-shaped course with an 11-mile out-and-back section broken up by a 23-mile loop that the women completed twice. Unfortunately, Kailin flatted early in the race and did not finish. Katherine got caught up in a crash near the start of the loop and was unable to complete the race (but she is OK). Neither was able to race in the Stage 4 criterium.
Catherine and Kiki’s Women Cat 3/4 race began Saturday morning with the same 2.5-mile time trial. Catherine’s time of 11:18 was good enough for 1st place of 29 women and gave her a time lead of 00:52 and 00:54 over the 2nd and 3rd place ladies. Kiki’s time of 13:09 put her in 11th place, 01:50 behind Catherine.
The Cat 3/4 Stage 2 road race began later Saturday morning and was the same lollipop-shaped course with only one 23-mile loop and the same 11-mile out-and-back section the pros raced. Catherine got into a break on a climb early on in the loop, and the 4 women stayed away from the rest of the field. She crossed the line in 2nd place, 53 seconds behind the leader. With time bonuses and cumulative times, Catherine was now 2 seconds behind the overall leader with the Sunday criterium remaining.
The Cat 3/4 Stage 3 criterium came on a (finally sunny) early Sunday morning, and Kiki and Catherine were both eager to race hard. The race started out at a fast pace, and a group of 12 (including Catherine and Kiki) quickly separated themselves from the remainder of the 26-woman field. The women kept the pace high over the eight total laps and remained together, so the race came down to a final sprint. Catherine came around the final corner with a small gap on the field and was able to hold that gap, crossing the line 4 seconds before the 2nd and 3rd place women.
With time bonuses and cumulative times, Catherine was now 6 seconds ahead of the 2nd place woman and had won the overall GC with a total time of 2:35:34 for the weekend. Kiki finished the crit in 5th place and maintained her 11th place overall, 15 minutes behind Catherine.
The fields at Joe Martin are typically larger than we see in Tennessee and close surrounding states, so it was a treat and an extra challenge this weekend racing with nearly 30 women in the Cat 3/4 field and 50 women in the P/1/2 field. We hope to continue racing in these well-attended and elite races.