Photography By SnowyMountain
The weekend kicked off Friday with a visit to Central School in Glencoe. Riders Kelli Richter and Daphne Karagianis visited two P.E. classes to talk bikes. There were many questions and the kids were very inspired.
Friday evening we had our 7th development clinic: RACE TACTICS & SKILLS. Pepper Palace Pro Cycling riders Julie Kuliecza and Amy Phillips lead the clinic and took the riders on a course preview.
Julie requested that the riders RIP IT through turn two. So we did.
A good way to get over any fear is to pretend you have a potato chip in your mouth.
#1 rule: be a good teammate.
Sprinting: Get aero! Don't be over-geared!
We asked Kelly Clarke, from Spidermonkey Cycling, to tell us how the CWEC Glencoe clinic with Pepper Palace helped her on race day.
"By breaking down the corners and how to take them, I had much more confidence than I normally would have, especially with the rainy race day conditions. The guess work was taken out of it, and I knew the line I wanted before the race started. I was also glad the Psimet woman asked a few questions about passing in corners and taking different lines, because I see a lot of 4s executing this in races, and it was nice to have the etiquette of taking proper lines in corners reinforced. I've never had anyone break down sprinting on the road, while practicing it outside. I was able to practice the form we discussed on both Saturday and Sunday in the races. It made me feel a lot more confident to sprint, and I feel like I can practice it and get better at it now that I've had some direction. Julie and Amy were super positive and friendly, and reinforced that racing is about fun. They were true ambassadors for the sport and made us excited to race our bikes. I was really happy they stressed taking chances, where appropriate, and working with teammates, because that's what makes racing fun and exciting."
We also asked Jenny, from BFF racing, what her favorite part of the clinic was. She went on to podium at the IL Criterium State Championship the next day! "I had many favorite parts! I really enjoyed the sprint practice… it’s a skill I have been wanting to learn more about, and felt a big improvement once I tried implementing the advice given. It was also really inspiring to interact with such elite riders and hear their take on bike racing, team dynamics, team tactics, and all things bike related. "
Saturday: Race Day! As part of preparing our riders in the best way possible, one of our goals is to have a race director at every race. Our race director for Glencoe was Ryan Connor. Ryan managed the Northern Ireland national cycling team at the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow. When he raced, Ryan was both British and Irish TT champion, competed at World and European championships, as well as in the 2006 Commonwealth Games. You might find him by listening for a very thick Irish accent : )
We asked Ryan to re-tell the race from his perspective, after having worked with us for the first time. Here is what he had to say:
"For every team I manage I am always on the look out for certain things, such as how the riders race as a team, how they react to the way a race develops, how they race in changing weather conditions, how focused and motivated they are and if they carry out the instructions given to them.
Not only was it the teams first outing of the season it was also my own first time looking after the team and giving them instructions. As well as being the first time to get a proper look at each rider to see how they race against different opposition. Taken this all into consideration the overall plan for the girls was to achieve a top five result and to ride as a team with both these goals being achieved.
Each rider was given specific roles to carry out and I was keen to keep an eye on them carrying out these roles. From my perspective it was great to see two of our riders Daphne and Danielle in what proved to be the break of the day consisting of five riders. Due to the make up of this break and the horrible racing conditions it was effectively race over for the rest of the bunch. At this point I was watching to see how the two riders would ride with each other to work against the other riders as well as keep an eye on the riders left in the bunch to see if they would react to any potential moves from others to try and get across.
It was encouraging to hear after the race that the two riders in the break as well as the riders in the bunch all talked with each other about what they would do at the finish and because of this Daphne was able to podium with Danielle fifth and Kelli winning the bunch sprint. It was also encouraging to see that the riders were not put off in the slightest by the terrible weather conditions, that they kept themselves hydrated which is something often neglected on wet days and that a late change in tactics due to riders not turning up didn't faze them.
All in all it was a promising first day for the team and I now know the riders a lot better and having talked to some of them individually confidence is high and they are ready to continue this upwards trend."
A big thanks to CWEC sponsor PSIMET for working on our bikes all morning and providing the most badass tent compound in town! It was great to have our local teams represented as well. Look for us at Tour of America's Dairyland!!