Race Reports: BC Superweek wrapup

The Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery women have been in British Columbia for the last 10 days competing at BC Superweek. Team director Chris Reid provided us with this wrapup of the events after the Tour de Delta.

UBC Grand Prix
July 9, 2013 – University of British Columbia campus

The UBC Grand Prix was probably the most savage women’s race I have ever seem at BC Superweek.  The course was a box with an extension on the home stretch into a U-turn around a roundabout and then back onto the box – all in under a kilometre. The 60-rider field was single file most of the night and down to 30 riders by half way.  Catherine Dessurealt did another good ride – demonstrating that she is on some great form. Candice Vermeulen put together her best race so far at Superweek. While it might not have been her best result on paper she had great positioning for most of the race and fought hard all night to get on the right side of the splits.

Audrey Bernard also rode well for the first half of the race before succumbing to the torrid pace – she demonstrated on the night that for most of our young riders its just a matter of time. They have  skills and abilities to mix it up in these races, they just need more exposure to this level of racing and kilometres in their legs.  That was the intent of this project in the first place. Click here for full results.

Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix
July 10, 2013 — Gastown, Vancouver, B.C.

Gastown is the granddaddy of them all at BC Super Week – White Rock may be older, and may never have been cancelled but Gastown is what draws the big crowds and big teams (how big you ask? Well the Optum men walked away with over $21,000).

The course is in the heart of downtown Vancouver on a teardrop-shape course that has its fair share of bricks, cobbles and paving stones. The area has gentrified somewhat in recent years, and now longer has quite the same feel as when it was dubbed “Heroin Alley” – though there is certainly still enough signs of the Downtown East Side’s struggles that it retains its authenticity.

Sixty-five riders toed the line at this year’s Gastown GP to contest for the $8,000 first prize. In attendance were strong squads from Optum, Vanderkiten, and NOW and Novartis with an assortment of other top riders also in attendance – including Olympians Gillian Carlton (Specialized-Lululemon) and Jasmin Glaesser (TIBCO).

The race was lined out pretty much the entire night with no break able to make any sort of meaningful inroads into escaping the field. In the end Optum’s Canadian Criterium Champion Leah Kirchmann took home the win ahead of Carleton (who was racing on a torn rotator cuff and would sit out the rest of the week) and former US National Road Race Champion Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis).

Audrey Bernard led home the Stevens riders in 19th place with Catherine and Annie also making it though a savage criterium that saw nearly half the field pulled.

A huge thank you goes out to Global Relay for stepping in to save this historic race. All of the girls received commemorative jackets and bags. Click here for full results.

Giro di Burnaby
July 11, 2013 – Burnaby, BC

Another night, another bike race. After a quick lap of Stanley Park for a morning spin, we loaded up the minivans and headed out to yet another gracious host house – this one someone who worked in the film industry – to camp out for the afternoon before the race.

The Giro di Burnaby has changed in the last few years and now features a similar configuration as UBC – a box with a spur into a 180, but on a much bigger course. This was Cath’s last race with the team and the girls decided to try and set her up as best they could.

Carrie Cartmill did a commendable job covering absolutely everything in the first third of the race and nailed back an early dangerous move containing Farina (NOW).

When Olympian Denise Ramsden went up the road with Leah Guloien of Colavita, Anderson of Vanderkitten and Kinsella of NOW all present, Cath new it was now or never. It took her slightly over a lap to make the junction to the breakaway. When a second NOW rider Olivia Dillion came across shortly after the writing was on the wall. The break rode well together at first but in the dying laps it was beginning to splinter with at least three of its members losing contact at some point.

Ramsden blew the break to pieces with a little more than a lap to go, soloing in for a fine win ahead of Kinsella and Guloien.

Behind Cath , Candice put together her best ride of the week to come 3rd in the bunch sprint behind Krichman to take home 9th place on the day.

Bernard slid out on a roundabout midway through the race but was able to rejoin the race and help her teammate with just a nasty abrasion on her forearm.
Click here for full results.

Tour de White Rock
July 12-14, 2013 — White Rock, B.C.

Tired. If there was one word to sum up our team at the last week of Super Week it would be that.

It had been the objective all along of course to expose these riders to a level of racing that was higher than the intensity and frequency than they were used to, in order to foster both their skills and tactics as races but also the depth of fitness that you only really get from multi-day racing.

That is the long term effect; the short term effect is lethargy, increased spacey-ness and a plethora of mid-day napping. Neither the hill climb nor the criterium were really stand-out events for most of the team. The big exception to this was Emily Flynn who probably put together one of her best performances of the week in the crit and backed it up in the road race at White Rock.

NOW and Novartis did at White Rock what the Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery girls did at Preston St. and swept the podium (shredding the field on the process). If you are curious it’s not nearly as fun on the receiving end.

Annie Foreman-Mackey was the sole survivor from the team in the criterium, throwing down a performance best described as “befuddling.” Annie looked tired (see above) in the race and appeared to lack much snap, and she lost contact with the tail of the field on a $200 prime lap.

What happened next was inexplicable. When you are dropped with that much time in a crit you will be lapped out. It is pretty much a law of cycling physics. Except Annie bent cycling’s laws with her brain and proceeded to diesel most of a full straight behind the field for the remainder of the race (at times it actually looked like she would regain contact).

She actually caught Candice and Emily when they were popped late in the race and yelled at them to get on – but they couldn’t and were eventually pulled with 3 to go. Annie however managed to never concede more than half a lap….

Things went markedly better the next day in the 80-kilometer road race. There is no need for flowery description – the White Rock road race is stupid hard. It starts out along a fast exposed boulevard on the beach, onto a savage climb, then down a steep descent into a chicane, and onto another harder climb, which flattens out onto a criterium style circuit up top before plunging back to the start finish.

If you have any hope of doing well on this course – or even surviving it – you need to be prepared to die a thousand deaths. The team went in focused and ready to race hard to finish of a monster week of racing.

At the end of lap one the field was already shattering with Carrie making a select front group that included several NOW hitters, Jasmin Glaesser (TIBCO) and a few riders from Trek-Red Truck.

Annie’s group was able to claw their way up to this front group and it was from this that the race was decided. At the half way mark NOW began to put the pressure on – eventually Katheryn Donavan would escape solo ahead of a group containing Lex Albrecht and Dillion (NOW) and Glaesser .

Carrie rode well but ended up being solo as the 9th rider on the road for the last third of the race. Behind her Annie was chugging her way through riders who had fallen off the pace and the two eventually met up with a lap to go. Carrie told the Mackey-Express to rider her own pace as she was worried about being caught by the large group behind (though in fact that group was nearly 3 minutes back).

When the dust had settled Annie was 9th and Carrie 10th for their best individual performances of the week. By virtue of having survived the criterium Annie also ended up 9th on the GC a perfect cap to a long week of racing!

On behalf of the whole team I would like to extend a huge heartfelt thank you to all of the sponsors in Ottawa that helped make this project possible, and to the host houses that welcomed the riders and staff into their homes – without you the trip wouldn’t have been possible. I honestly believe every single one of these riders is returning a better racer for having done this trip and hopefully had a experience that they will remember for a long time! Thank you!