Race Report: Stephanie Chase wins the Ridge TT and takes 3rd in the Independence Valley RR

Saturday Independence Valley road race: I’d heard good things about IVRR and was pretty excited to check out the 60+ mile course and test my legs. There were two climbs per lap and a flat finish, and I was hoping (fingers crossed) that the climbs would break up the field so it wouldn’t come down a bunch sprint. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men…  There was a crash at the base of the first climb and the group stayed together through the first lap but the next time up the big climb, a group of ten of us broke away and made it over the top with a gap. Unfortunately we were caught at the bottom of the second climb. At that point, I decided to cram my mouth full of food and wait for the showdown that was going to happen on the final lap. But when we hit the big climb on the third lap and just as a girl attacked, the official car honked and neutralized everyone field because the 1/2 lead dude was coming up. We were neutral the entire way up the climb until the men’s leader passed us on the descent. Finally when the official let us race again, another girl attacked and got a little gap. She stayed away until we hit the second climb and then we were neutralized again and the field came back together. Once we were allowed to race again, a couple girls attacked, split the group and headed toward the finish. We were allowed the full road at 200m to go but when the road opened up a few girls off to my left immediately crashed. I heard crunching carbon and bodies hit the ground and the everyone moved to the right to avoid the domino effect. Just like the past couple road race finishes, I got stuck in the middle — the worst place for a sprint — and there was no time to re-adjust and move because the line is coming up and then it’s all over. Ended up third in the cat 3 field.
Sunday TT and Ridge circuit race: This track was not PIR! Two short but very steep climbs plus one corkscrew descent with 20+% pitches meant that I was going to have put a lot more thought into the TT other than “pedal really hard for 30 minutes.” But I felt pretty good especially after getting a bike fit on TT bike from Annalisa at Endurance PDX. The course was very rhythmic and felt more like a ‘cross race with lots of undulations.  Our field was small but Christine and I got first and third. HVV had to deal with some really fast ladies and put in a solid ride as well.
Circuit race was shortly after the TT ended so there was just enough time to eat a burrito bowl and get back in the chamois to race again. There was an attack on the first lap on that corkscrew downhill and a group of six of us got away. I was the only cat 3 in the group and was just pretty happy to be there. Christine and HVV smartly sat in the field and let the other teams try to work. Our lead group ended up with a minute and a half gap and stayed away for the entire race. There were some issues with the lap board so we ended up sprinting twice for the finish but it didn’t matter for me; the cat 1/2 ladies were attacking on the descent, I kept braking and getting gapped off. So I ended up last out of six with HVV and Christine rolling in with the field. Good learning experience!

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