The Cyclery-4iiii girls headed down to Minnesota this past week for the Pro Road Tours North Star Grand Prix. There was a full team to toe the line, with Emily, Amelie, Catherine, Suzanne, Kinley, and Ariane. We also brought Annie Forman-Mackey back into the fold as a guest rider, along with her Twenty-20 teammate Steph Roorda.
This six stage, five-day stage race started early on Wednesday with an eight-kilometre individual time trail. Annie Foreman-Mackey crushed it on a road bike with a solid 6th place, followed by Steph and Ariane in 22nd and 23rd. It was an impressive opening for the girls which promised a great week to come. The team then headed back to their wonderful host houses for some much-needed R &R as we had a crit to crush that night. And crush we did, with lots of representation at the front and Steph taking the parity prime as well as 8th! At the end of the night this earned her the Ellen Watters Most Aggressive Riders Jersey, a jersey very close to our heart.
The next day was the Cannon Falls road race a rolling course with the wind being a major factor. It was a tough, hot day out there, but we were aggressive earning points both in the sprint and Queen of the Hill competition. Annie represented in the break of the day setting Cat up for a solid top ten and Ariane to get the Top Amateur jersey. Steph was again awarded the Most Aggressive Riders Jersey – it’s rarely awarded to the same person two days in a row, but that just shows the grit and tenacity that Steph rides brings to each race.
Then the next evening was the Minneapolis Crit, which brought great crowds and vibes for another speedy race. With three call-ups, Ariane for Top Amateur, Steph for Most Aggressive and Kinley for National Crit Champion, we had a solid start on the line. The race was fast with Rally and UHC taking control. Cat was caught up in a crash, but after being calm and collected got back into the race to take the parity prime! Ariane kept the Top Amateur Jersey to wear again the next day.
Then early the next morning we made our way to Mankato for a tough 100km road race featuring two opportunities for the Sprint Jersey and four opportunities for Queen of the Hill competition. The plan was to be present and help to keep Ariane in the jersey. Suz attacked early and got away solo, gaining 40sec early. After being joined by two other riders, they gained two minutes on the pack! During that time Suz picked up the sprint points as well. The girls did their job making sure to shepherd Ariane so she was fresh for the finish to in order to keep the jersey. That she did, with an epic 7th place finish. Today was a day that saw the girls execute some pretty perfect team work and put us third in the Team GC as well!
The week finished off with the infamous Stillwater crit. This crit is really just hill repeats with some turns at the top. The race starts at the bottom of Chilkoot Hill, an average of 13%, and then finishes at the top. For some of the girls their job was to crush to make the time cut and the main goal was to keep Ariane in the Top Amateur jersey. Ariane rode an incredible race with major support from Cat, Steph, and Annie. Unfortunately, we were unable to keep the jersey, but we held on for most of the race and rode like the team we are – right up there with the pros. In fact, we finished fourth on the team GC behind Rally, UHC and Colavita.
As always, thanks to our amazing sponsors The Cyclery, and 4iiii Innovations; without this support, this trip would not have been possible. On that note, shout out to SeaSucker who helped to make this trip a little less expensive and making such easy to use bike racks!
As you know this is a small team, one that runs on the support of volunteers, so thanks to DS extraordinaire Jenny Trew for directing us throughout the week all while handling two kids; to Susan and Richard Reid for also helping with these two rascals, to Justine Clift, who unfortunately cannot race right now, but came down to help out and cheer us on; to Luc Mahler (former Cyclery racer-now living in Wisconsin) for opening his home to our riders, for being team mechanic, soigneur, and driver all at once; to the Bruneau family who drove from Montreal to help out with feedzone and food; and to our other hosts, Kris and Kelly and their three wonderful boys and welcoming home.
Now on to Canadian Road Nationals on home turf! Annie and Steph will again become fierce competition, but we are ready to defend those titles!