The Cyclery-Opus girls journeyed down to New York for the 2016 edition of the Women’s Woodstock Grand Prix. With a team of 6 riders representing, we had the opportunity to race as a team and to race tactically. The Race is approximately 100km with a 3km very steep climb around the halfway mark. The remainder of the course is made of twisty roads and rolling terrain. The roster for the race included Ariane Bonhomme, Amelie Bruneau, Carrie Cartmill, Emily Flynn, Liah Harvie, and Miriam Brouwer.
Keeping the the race plan simple, we wanted to have a break of at least two riders (including one of ours) down the road in the first 35 km. To do so, a constant barrage of attacks was in order. Miriam Brouwer was the climber on the day, her job was to sit in the peloton and get ready for the climb.
We went out and did exactly that. Someone would attack, the other teams would chase, once caught another girl would go. Repeat until successful.
In the end, Emily Flynn went for a flier and got over a minute on the field. The timing on this attack was excellent because the selection climb was coming up fast. This strategy allows the break to start the climb a minute earlier than the peloton, therefore when the pace picks up in the peloton, and the break is reeled in. The riders in the break will meet the selection leaders somewhere on or over the selection climb.
As the climb started, the entire field spread out and some good old fashioned suffering went down. The best climbers took some time on the field, clearing the top with time to spare, including Miriam! While the rest of us eventually came back together after the climb to form the leading chase group. We had good numbers in this chase group with four representatives.
We lost one (myself) to a dropped chain. Bringing the number down to three. The group rolled hard, but never caught the break of two ahead.
Several mishaps happened with course directions. The main peloton took a wrong turn not far from the finish, and Miriam went off course by accident while riding just behind the lead break. Unfortunate things do happen, and it’s part of the sport. The event itself was beautifully run, the organization did a commendable job.
To everyone’s surprise the organizer awarded us with a beautiful handmade chair to recognize our contributions to the race as aggressors and women’s cycling.
Also a huge thank you to the race volunteers, event sponsors, and host housing. The race couldn’t happen without your contributions. Thank you!