Women’s A/B Stevens Circuit
It’s going to take a whole lot more than a teensy bit of water and wind to stop the ECCC. With a 60% chance of rain and images of cyclists getting blown away from their bikes at Grant’s Tomb fresh in everyone’s minds, Stevens Duck Country Circuit at FDR Park had a considerably impressive turnout across all fields.
Scattering sprinkles earlier during the day made a course filled with various hills rather slippery for the Women’s Circuit A/B race. With nine A starters and eleven B starters, the pace was immediately set by perfectly positioned A racers Eun Young (Harvard University) and Martha Buckley (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Buckley displayed strategic manipulation of the race by setting a pace that was comfortable for her, which contributed to her second place finish. Buckley clinched first place at Columbia’s Grants Tomb Criterium the previous day, in addition to second place at Rutgers’ Circuit the previous weekend.
With one lap completed, the peloton was comprised of every single rapid racer, A and B riders alike. Buckley was still at the top for the second lap, this time accompanied by teammate Laura Ralston and Elle Anderson of Dartmouth College. These three worked together to pull away from the rest of the field, which instantaneously split into two additional groups. Only two distinct groups emerged the third time around the course, with Molly Hurford representing Rutgers as a B rider among a group dominated by A riders. (Hurford won Rutgers’ Criterium for the Women’s B category the previous weekend, and finished third for Rutgers’ Road Race in the Women’s B category.) The second group encompassed a majority of the B riders, with the exception of several Women A riders.
The field remained split in two for the duration of the race, with a few riders straying. Hurford, Anderson, Buckley, and McLoon refused to slack off in the first group, refusing to allow any riders from the second group to even mildly consider catching up. KimberlyAnn Zubris of Boston University, a B rider, and Emily Daniels of Bucknell University, also a B rider, stayed in front of the second group for the majority of the race. Those straggling away from the groups were faced with the conundrum of whether to tough it out on their own or combine forces.
The final lap was a sprint after a pretty hefty hill. Spectators who had been present at Rutgers experienced déjà vu as it was war between McLoon and Buckley yet again. McLoon prevailed, embracing the familiar feeling of first (she won Rutgers’ Circuit). Anderson showed some strong efforts to seize third, while Ralston clinched fourth with Eisenstein on her back wheel for first place for Women’s B. Hurford’s efforts paid off as she secured second for Women’s B. McLoon, Buckley, and Anderson all had top five finishes for the Grant Tomb’s race the day before, as did Eisenstein, Hurford, and Zubris for Women’s B.