Women’s A/B Report
Tiahna Harris, with Martha Buckley and Yuri Matsumoto
Saturday morning Philadelphia greeted riders with a bit of wind, but showed promise to warm up before the start of the Circuit Races. The 25.2 mile course for the circuit race was scenic with straight aways under overpasses and by the water, and climbs and descents sandwiched between woods. Even with a field of 32 strong Women A/B riders, the trend of the trade off for first place between Martha Buckley of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Anna McLoon of Harvard didn’t falter.
Taking note of McLoon’s sprinting abilities, Buckley attacked several times throughout the race. Each time McLoon held on, dashing Buckley’s hopes of an easier sprint at the end. Buckley led the first lap, setting a difficult pace that only McLoon and teammate Yuri Matsumoto could stick with. With none of those broken away willing to lead the break, the peloton then caught up with the trio at the top of the hill, and the first break was pulled back in.
Lauren Shirock of Columbia and McLoon lead the pack at the bottom of the last hill climb in the first lap. This climb challenged riders to push themselves yet save enough for the last sprint, though the course kindly warmed riders up with a moderate mid-lap climb by Strawberry Mansion. After spending enough time in the peloton, McLoon charged on a climb with Buckley determined not to lose her. Matsumoto held on until the top of the hill, and having spent all of her efforts, Buckley and McLoon slipped away. Waiting up for the pack seemed to be a good choice, so Matsumoto stayed in the front with McLoon’s teammate Eun Young Choi, and Rebecca Chan, representing University of Pennsylvania, leading those brave enough to challenge the two broken away.
Zuzana Trnovcova of MIT decided to challenge all other riders for third place during the final lap, and attacked with one kilometer to go. The peloton fell into a paceline, with Jessica Kutz and Morgan Farnsworth, members of the Penn State team, fighting hard to reel Zuzka back in. Meanwhile, up ahead, Buckley and McLoon continued their tango, as per usual. Buckley started pulling Mcloon while Kutz pulled the second group. Before the base of the last climb, Buckley attacked one last time but her endeavors were for naught. Tied at the top of the hill, McLoon worked her anticipated magic and seized the win yet again. Matsumoto came in third, after a premature sprint almost kept her from clinching the position. Columbia University was able to celebrate Aimee Layton’s first place finish in the B field, with a placement of 7th overall.