After a few years hiatus the Chantilly Criterium returned in 2017 with some fast, flat racing. The VeloWorks-Spokes Etc team took full squads into the Men’s 4s, 3/4, Women’s 4 and 123 races. The men worked hard. The women dominated with Kim taking her first career win (and earning her category upgrade) and Kaitlyn lapping the field to take 2nd place. See their excellent race reports below.
Category 1-2-3 Women
Robin, Chelsea, and I lined up for a small but mighty women’s 1/2/3 race at Chantilly. Our plan was pretty straightforward–we had numbers, so make the field work. I was especially motivated to race hard because my coach was in town to see me race for the first time 3 years!
All the kudos go to Robin and Chelsea for masterfully managing the field throughout the entire race in a clean and positive way. I hope that everyone who shared kudos for you to me also shared them with you! You gals were AWESOME!!
At the whistle, we all clipped in and I launched the first attack. I pedaled hard through the first corner and looked back to see a sizable gap back to the field, so I just kept it going. After 2.5 solo laps off the front (for Sean: approx 6 min at VO2), an Artemis rider pulled the field back up to me right before the last corner, so I shut it down and grabbed a wheel.
Then, during the next lap and a half, Robin and Chelsea traded off attacks and counter attacks. Coming through the final corner I was about 4th wheel and was asked to pull through to close a small gap that the rider in front of me couldn’t close. No big deal. Coming through start/finish, I noticed that Robin was still on the front and that I was pretty well recovered from the first effort. As we rounded turn one, I got up and launched again from about 3rd-4th wheel.
After 4 solo laps out front and many people shouting time gaps at me (all I ever heard was ……SECONDS!), I looked back to see that a rider in black and red had cleanly bridged up to me. Once she was on my wheel, I glanced back to see her shaking her head. I immediately said, “don’t shake your head, we have to pedal!” 🙂 And that we did! We traded half-lap pulls for the next 11 laps.
With about 13 to go, the moto rolled up to us and said we were 1:30 in front of the field. I immediately looked down to get a time check on how long each lap was. The next time around, I looked down again to realize that we were doing approximately 2 minute laps. That meant we were only a quarter lap behind the field! Lapping the field was definitely possible. A few laps later when I was on the front, the motor rolled up and said, “look around this corner (final corner) and you’ll see the field!” I think my breakaway companion and I both breathed a sigh of relief and then kicked it up a notch! As we rounded the corner, I flicked my elbow and said, “bring it home, momma!” She pulled us up to within a wheel of the field and we both rolled up and sat up. The lap counter read 7 laps to go–plenty of time to recover.
At this point, I relaxed for a sip or two and realized that I was plenty uncomfortable sitting at the back of the pack on some highly questionable wheels. As we rounded the first corner, I glanced back to my breakaway companion, tapped my left hip to signal for her to get on my wheel and I pulled us both to the front. Once we got up there, I let her know that it is safer for us to ride up in the front.
Robin was comfortably controlling pace at the front, but with me back in the field I thought it made sense for us to not be on the front and let someone else sit in the wind. So I rolled up next to her and said, ‘get off the front,’ which proved to be a difficult task—no one (literally NO ONE) would pull through. And in reality, the front was really the safest place to be.
There was a prime lap at some point, for which a single racer sprinted. My breakaway companion expressed confusion about what was going on (a bell ringing with 4 to go?), so I explained to her the situation and let her know not to chase the single rider going for the prime for she wasn’t going to go anywhere. The prime was complete and the rider rolled back to the pack.
With 2 to go, Chelsea got up front and picked up the pace. Still no one else wanted to work. As we came around for bell lap, Chelsea was still on the front until about half-way around the back side (someone actually asked me, ‘is this your lead out train, Kaitlyn?’ I said, ‘ha! no.” because Chelsea was working for Robin at that point!) Then a bit of a swarm happened and I lost my placement at 3rd wheel. My breakaway companion was right next to me, so I attempted to get on her wheel. Unfortunately she was on a less than steady wheel through the last corner, so I opted to go wide to feel a bit more comfortable. This caused me to get gapped just enough that I caught a bit of wind and couldn’t straighten it out in time to out-sprint her. I completely lost sight of where Robin and Chelsea were. 🙁
Like I said at the top, all of this was possible because of the incredible race management by Chelsea and Robin!
Women’s Category 4