Sunday, July 13, 2008

Great Day for Sailing

New Britain Criterium On the start line (L-R): Michele, Silke and Brenda

A 20 mph headwind and temperatures in the high 80's greated the IF women and 23 competitors on the start line at this 20-mile criterium in New Britain's Walnut Park. Silke, Michele, Pauline and Brenda gathered with a small but talented field in this to race 20 laps of a rolling 1-mile loop on the grounds of this popular municipal park in New Britain, CT. The course resembles more of an oval racetrack and the only turn that could be called a "corner" is onto the stretch of road that holds the start / finish and felt, on this particular day, like a wind tunnel simlulator!

Brenda, at her first race in over 6 weeks after a medical leave, was raring to go, and pretty much attacked at the gun. After setting a brisk pace for the first 1 1/2 laps, she pulled over to see who else might want to wrestle with the unrelenting wind. And it was the wind that seemed to wield the most control over the racers that day. It didn't take long for anyone trying to launch an attack, or even go to the front to quickly retreat and seek the shelter of the field!

This very pronounced force of nature dashed the team's plan to get Silke into a break and then block like linebackers! Best laid plans, however, need a plan B, and the team quickly adapted to the elements, with IF always present at the front of the field.

Even with the wall of wind, the average speed stayed consistently high and the main field managed to force a few riders off the back.

Silke rode with impressive patience and good positioning and launched herself cleanly into the final pass through the wind tunnel simulator, to rocket in for 3rd overall. Pauline was 13th, while Michele and Brenda rolled in for 22nd and 24th. Next time we're bringing our sails!

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