Women’s A/B Grant’s Tomb Race Report
In the driving rain, gusting winds and standing water 24 women took the start of the Women’s A/B Criterium at Grant’s Tomb. The course was abbreviated from its tradition 5 turn course to a 2 turn format. The reason behind this decision was to avoid the stronger winds and deeper water of part of the course.
The resulting course was the Kentucky Derby of criterium courses. With 2 wide and gentle 180 degree turns and 3-4 lanes for the pack to navigate, the girls primary impediments to high speed and compact racing was the wind. Coming out of the 180 degree corner onto the backstretch of the course numerous women were seen out of the saddle, sprinting into the wind, and nearly coming to a standstill.
Early on in the race the pace was fairly light. It appeared that none of the girls were that interested in sticking themselves out into the roaring wind without the aide of other riders to draft off of.
When the officials rang the bell for the first prime sprint a small group started to roll off of the front. The group included series #2 Martha Buckley, but not the leader Anna McLoon. This move was not destined to stay away, however the action to bring them back did shell several riders off of the back.
The next attack was one that carried several riders away and would leave them clear to the finish line. This group contained four ladies Elle Anderson (Dartmouth), Martha Buckley (MIT), Laura Ralston (MIT) and Anna McLoon(Harvard). They were able to quickly and authoritatively distance themselves from the remnants of the pack.
At this point it team strength and tactics came on show. Laura Ralston and Martha Buckley of MIT were effectively able to work against the other girls in the break to ensure a win for MIT.
Martha Buckley was able to surge forward in the waning laps of the race take the win. Forcing her teammate (Ralston) into second sport. Elle Anderson of Dartmouth was able to hold onto third.
Martha Buckley was able to erase the point deficit that she came into the day with. She took advantage of the first and last prime being worth double points to take over the sprint leader’s jersey. Her copious sprint points and win in the race gave her enough points to overtake Anna McLoon by one point in the Overall competition. Since the leaders jerseys aren’t handed out until the end of the weekend, the person who would actually get to take home the new yellow jersey was still in question. With only one point separating them, their order of finish would determine the series leader.