Adventures in Arkansas – by Emily Flynn

This past week a group of the Cyclery-Opus girls took on the 2015 UCI Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, AR. The team consisted of Tara, Ellen, Emily, Ariane and guest riders Carrie Cartmill of the Cyclery Club Team and Genevieve Krahn from Manitoba.IMG_0102

Photo: Practising the climbs – a ride up Caesar’s Head to get the ladies ready for the 15km monster in Arkansas

The team arrived on the 21st and pre-rode the uphill TT course the following day. The TT was the first stage on Thursday which saw Tara take 4th and new mountain goat Ariane setting a blazing time, putting her in the top half of the GC.

Friday saw a point-to-point road race featuring a 15km climb half way through. The race started with an unfortunate crash that took Ariane out for the rest of the weekend. Thankfully her Giro Atmos did the job keeping her safe! After breaking up on the climb, the race finished back in town with Tara sprinting for 6th place and keeping her in the top 5 GC. Carrie and Ellen finished with the chase group having helped Tara with her positioning. After some mechanicals Genevieve was able to get help from the BMW Happy Tooth team and finish in style, despite that help being in the form of an 11-speed wheel on a 10-speed bike.

Saturday saw a dramatic weather change to 30+ degree weather, but this was no problem for the girls as they were powered by Scratch hydration mix from Ryeka Sport and Fruit 2 from Xact nutrition. This circuit race featured rolling terrain with one particular wall of a hill. The team was able to suffer through and keep Tara in the top 10 GC.

The final stage was a 2km crit course in downtown Fayetteville featuring eight turns and a mountain climb to the finish. The race quickly blew up leaving only Tara in the pack and Ellen hanging tough in the second group on the road. After some aggressive racing from United Health Care (UHC), Tara was able to finish 10th and 8th on GC. In the closing laps, Ellen dropped the other chasers to finish 30th and show her speed climbing abilities.

Cyclery-Opus ended up 10th on the team GC amongst pro teams and riders from around the world; proving their spot in the pro peloton.

Next stop is Woodstock, NY for the Women’s Woodstock Gran Prix!

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