Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Silke Wins the Palmer Road Race

Team Independent Fabrication/Kempner sent a full squad to the Palmer Library Road Race in Warren, MA. It was the first team race of the season, but the team worked like a well-oiled machine and placed not one, or two, but three of its riders in the top 10! Silke Wunderwald suffered a couple of mechanicals during the race, but chased back on with the help of Michele Smith and Pauline Frascone. Brenda Bahnson, Zoe Owers, Silke, and Pauline were all very active at the front with attacks and pacemaking. The winning move happened when Silke attacked in the rolling uphill section of the course with some four miles to go and soloed to the finish line to claim the victory. Zoe was 5th, Pauline was 7th, and Brenda also came in with the pack at 19th.

This was Silke's first race on her brand-new XS. She said, "The Palmer road race was only my third ride overall and the very first race on my brand spanking new Independent Fabrication XS bike. The XS features a full custom geometry of custom Reynolds carbon fiber composite tubes with titanium chainstays and beautiful laser cut crown lugs. The bike felt incredibly comfortable right from the very first time I rode it, yet it is very responsive and has a wonderful solid feel on the road. It handles perfectly and I felt extremely confident to ride this bike in its maiden race only two days after delivery. During the race I was almost caught off-guard by its quick acceleration and immediate power transfer to the road, and I had a lot of fun putting it to the test. But regardless of where I pointed the bike or how far I leaned into a turn, it didn’t flinch and stayed on track."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tour of the Battenkill (aka Battenkill-Roubaix)

It could have been a perfect summer day at the beach with sand, the smell of sunscreen, and near record high temperatures, except that we weren’t lazily basking in the sun…

We were tearing up the quaint backcountry roads in Salem, NY, riding through plumes of dust and listening to the sound of stones getting shot out from underneath our tires.

Brenda Bahnson, Zoe Owers and Silke Wunderwald made the trek to participate in what has become a true cycling classic in just over four years: the Tour of the Battenkill Valley (formerly known as Battenkill-Roubaix). Most fields, including the Cat. 4 Women, were sold out well in advance, yet there were only 29 starters in the Women’s P123 field. However, some of New England’s strongest riders stood on the line and what the field lacked in quantity it clearly made up in quality. Also of superior quality was the splendid weather. Temperatures in the 80s under blue skies made for perfect racing conditions and had everyone searching for sunscreen instead of armwarmers and booties. The 55-mile course loops through a quiet corner of the state, includes some 4400 feet of climbing, and, best of all, features five prolonged sections of dirt roads that make up some 25% of the course and which this year were characterized by lots of loose sand and rocks compared to the craterlike potholes from last year.

The women’s field stayed together until the gravelly climbs of Meetinghouse Road roughly halfway through the race where Anna Milkowski of Team Advil-ChapStick forced a selection that included Anna McLoon (Harvard U) and Kathleen Billington (Conn Coast). The attack not only launched this breakaway group of three, but fragmented the entire field behind. The first chase group of five riders contained Silke, but due to race strategies that weren’t readily apparent the group failed to work together effectively and never caught any of the three lead riders in spite of McLoon flatting and Billington being unable to match the pace set by Milkowski. The group did manage to stay ahead of any other chasing riders though and in the end Silke claimed sixth place overall. Zoe found herself in a group of four that would eventually finish just a few minutes behind the race leaders in 15th place and was quite content with a successful hard day of training. Brenda, in her first race of the season, was psyched to make the selection and stay with the front group for the first 30 miles of the race. A small mechanical hiccup - via a front derailleur cable misfire, however, caused her to lose contact and momentum along a particularly windy stretch of road when the peloton was strung out single-file and at full gas. As is her forte, however, she rode the rest of the race as a solo TT, caught and passed a few stragglers and out sprinted her last catch of the day for 20th.

The one word that best describes this event: epic!!! If you missed it, do the 5th anniversary edition in 2009, but keep in mind that this is April in New England and you might find yourself slipping and sliding on ice instead of sand next year! The team would like to thank Farm Team Cycling, race director Dieter Drake, the volunteers and everyone else involved in making this a truly memorable event!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Michele takes 3rd at Myles Standish!

Michele Smith contested the Myles Standish RR in Plymouth, Mass. The small field did four laps of a 5-mile course in sunny conditions. NEBC was active at the beginning, sending off several attacks until Cathy Rowell broke free. She rode solo for a lap-and-a-half while a small chase group, including Smith, formed behind. The group caught Rowell on the second-to-last time up the climb, then stayed together until fracturing again on the last time up the climb after a strong attack split two riders off. Smith worked with the remaining two riders and then took the finish sprint for 3rd place.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Silke Wins Chris Hinds!

The Chris Hinds Memorial Criterium was held April 12, 2008, at Ninigret park in Rhode Island. Silke bagged her first win in IF colors! Go Silke!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No joke!

Ready or not, the 2008 race season is finally here! There have already been a flurry of early season training crits, but April is the month when all of a sudden weekends are packed with activity again and there is a bit of a buzz in the air (and I am not talking about all those ladybugs that keep invading my home). The first official race of the Independent Fabrication/Kempner Women's Cycling Team is the Palmer Library Road Race in Warren, MA, on April 27th, but there are a number of other races earlier in the month that some of us are targeting as well such as the Chris Hinds Memorial Crit, the Turtle Pond Circuit Race, Battenkill-Roubaix, the Rick Newhouse Memorial Crit and, finally, the Sturbridge Road Race. Stay tuned!