Tour of Walla Walla
Women's Race Report - by the women's team
This year the Friday road race was included in the overall stage race GC for the women which meant a bigger turn out than normal, over 50 women. This was our first race as a team, but we felt confident that we all knew our jobs and we were ready to roll. The first bit of action for the team came with Jess's early flat, but Laura was close by and dropped back to help pace Jess back to the front of the race. The new radio ban ensures that you need to communicate well and maintain a good awareness of where your teammates are. All and all it seemed that most teams were approaching the race fairly conservatively, with the only significant separation occurring over the QOM climb. Jess and Leah were both represented in the split and Laura and Sarah just followed wheels as other riders pulled themselves back to the front of the race. The long downhill following the climb in combination with the wind did not favor the break and so the race came down to a bunch sprint. Again, you could see that teams planned to race conservatively and the speeds were low which resulted in a very short sprint. With very little movement in the pack over the last few kilometers we were all fairly boxed in - Leah managed to sneak out the left side when the road opened up to sprint in for 8th and the rest of us just rolled in easy with the pack.
With all riders at 10 seconds down (due to time bonuses) from the race leader after the first stage, it was time to ride fast in the 15 km time trial. Jessica ended up 10th place, about one minute down from the winner and Leah 14th, about 1 minute and 5 seconds down.
We were looking for a podium in the criterium as we foresaw making up time on a flat course unlikely. All four of the girls rode awesome, aggressive, near the front, controlled any moves and made a great race happen. The crit was a super technical course with lots of corners and some rough road which made it vital to stay near the front and watch for any moves. The girls had good positioning throughout the crit and marked any moves that tried to get away; however, there were very few moves that left any impact on the field. There was some interesting bike handling skills throughout the pack which made it critical to keep your head up and elbows out. The girls were eager to try an aggressive move throughout the crit, as they were disappointed at the lack of action in the previous days race. At less than 2 laps to go, Leah attacked right before a right hand turn and managed to create a good gap. The field was strung out and everyone was eager to chase her down. Unfortunately, the GC leader crashed, not to get back up again, which also created some gaps throughout the pack. Leah was brought back by a couple of girls during the last lap and managed to recover and take 4th at the line. The rest of the TR girls did a great job at controlling the pace when the break went and managed to finish strong. Overall, a good ride for the girls.
Going into Sundays 120km road race, Jess and Leah were looking to move up in GC on the long, hilly day that was in favour of their strengths. Jess and Leah had help from Laura and Sarah all race who were patrolling the front and covering any potentially dangerous moves. Leah and Jess both made the selection that happened on the QOM. The main pack chased hard and brought it all back together after 20k or so. Total Restoration was well represented in all aspects of the entire race. Coming into the last climb Sarah made an attack coming into town which really helped just keep things moving and forced a chase from the GC riders and their respective teams. It was great timing. When we hit the 3km climb to the finish, we were confident Leah had any moves covered early on the climb. This allowed Jess to get settled into pace and well positioned for the finish, where she came over the top of the climb strong in second place. Jess didn't get the win, but it was a good result and everyone contributed. Both Leah and Jess moved up in GC, as well as Sarah and Laura. It was a great starting point for the team. We will just keep getting better as a unit because it is easy to build up trust and respect when you know your teammates are all working together.
Final GC: Jessica-5th, Leah-9th, Sarah-18th, and Laura 23rd.
Men's Race Report - by Jamie Sparling
Hitting the Wall(a Walla)
Walla Walla is known as being one of the best amateur stage races in the Pacific Northwest. A full road enclosure, timely results, decent purse and an amazingly energetic town make this event a standard for any bike team in the area. That being said, the level of competition is usually very high. This year would not disappoint as many top amateur racers from both the US and Canada would be on the start line. The TR men’s team would be fielding 6 riders; this would be two less than almost every other team as the rules allow for a maximum of 8 riders in the same jersey. This did not deter us as Cyrus is kind of like two guys anyways.
Chris Devries – Goes up hill fast. Really Fast. And has a few super-bursts up his sleeve
Dan Macdonald – All rounder with some sick bike handling skills. He is also far more ripped than any of us.
Tim Sherstibetoff – FAST finisher. Sprinter. (and apparently now a climber??)
Marcel Aarden – Goes up hill faster than almost everyone.
Shawn Kangerloo – Pure Savage.
Jamie Sparling - GC Hope??
Stage 1 – 100km Rolling and Windy
Breaks went, Breaks came back, but in the end it was a sprint from a dwindled field (45 left from 125). Tim managed to get himself right up there and finished a HAIR off the top step. Tim Sherst, our Ace in the hole... second pwace. (Side note: it was a Canadian Sweep of the podium!)
Stage 2 – 16km ITT
Everyone suffered hard for about 20 minutes. Both Cyrus and I ended up in the top 10. 8th and 3rd respectively.
This time-trial was a lot more significant than most. It gave us the opportunity to benchmark ourselves against the time set by one of the continents best time trialists. Ian Mckissick won this race by about 45 seconds. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this name read on. He has won and podiumed at several NRC time trials, has ridden and finished Paris-roubaix, and has also done the dauphine and criterium international . The list of impressiveness goes on.
Anyways, to cut my rambling short, it was going to take some serious team work to try to go for the GC win in the following stages.
Stage 3 - 50 Minute Crit
This crit was so safe and relaxed! It consisted of: Painted Cross Walks, Rain, Awkwardly Placed manhole covers, A field where no-one seems to really want to be cautious, patio slabs, and the darkness of night. (sarcasm is funny because I say exactly the opposite of what is true.)
All of us kept the rubber side down and finished with a severely dwindled group... however Cory had a heck of a time scrubbing the brown outta our shams!
Stage 4 – 165km Queen Stage
This was it, the Grand finally. In our team meeting that morning we all agreed that our goal was to move up on the individual GC classification. I was sitting third and with some serious riding the top step looked to be in sight.
GC Race Situation going in:
Some other peeps including Cyrus not too far back.
Lenovo, Mckissick’s Team, took control from the start. Their goal was to keep everyone in check so at the finish Ian’s lead was intact. Almost as soon as Lenovo had the front, Red truck started to put them under pressure. For the next 140 or so km Lenovo was slowly killing themselves to protect the lead. I didn’t give the TR guys the word to put Lenovo under pressure until I could see our bullets would be effective. Red Truck had 8 guys and were keen to weaken Lenovo from the start. With about 35km to go Nic H snuck away and Lenovo was giving it everything to keep him in sight. With about 25km to go Lenovo was done and Mckissick was isolated. Cyrus went. The yellow jersey slowly brought him back. Marcel Countered hard. No response. I went and was marked by Tyler Trace and a few non-gc threats. We quickly caught Nic. Marcel Super-nuked it and our gap began to grow. Eventually we got 2 minutes. The last 3km of the race was uphill and into a headwind. The break had shattered and Nic and I were together racing for 3rd place on the stage. There was a 4 second time bonus on the line, so the winner of our battle would take the overall win... Nic was stronger and rode me off his wheel. I fought hard to the finish and secured 2nd overall. Nic is a good friend and former teammate and it was nice to see him throw down! I was also so pumped on the TR team’s ability to put me in a position to go for the win. I can tell we are going to throw it down in 2010.