Housatonic Hills Road Race Report
Riders: Silke Wunderwald and Zoe Owers
River Road has long been a challenging part of the Housatonic Hills road race course with a minefield of potholes and cracks that grew worse every year and that collectively make up a prime example of what could be defined as the New England equivalent of Belgian pavé. Apparently, the road surface has finally degraded to the point where the race promoter felt it was no longer safe and a new course was devised. By all accounts this new route was much more challenging with an additional 600 feet of climbing and the former steep finish climb now moved to the beginning of each lap. The Q/KOM was also moved to a longer gradual climb somewhere in the new sections of the course.
With the exception of a few dropped riders the field stayed intact through the first lap of the course. Zoe Owers rode strong at the front of the group and positioned herself well to help her teammate Silke Wunderwald control the pack during the first loop of the race.
The first split of the Women’s P123 field occurred on the former finish climb at the beginning of the second lap. The group of seven or eight riders that crested the hill together soon grew to nine or ten with additional riders rejoining the front after a longer downhill section. Roughly halfway through the second lap, another selection occurred that contained Silke Wunderwald, Beth Miller (North Atlantic Velo) and Audrey Friedrichsen Scott (Bikeway). The three escapees worked well together to increase their lead and the chase group failed to get organized to reel them back in. Coming through the last turn behind Audrey and Beth, Silke was in perfect position to wait for the right moment to start her sprint to the finish line to claim the spot on top of the podium as well as the title of Connecticut Road Race Champion!