Friday, June 27, 2014

Youth Road Provincials + TT Provincials

This was my third weekend on the island after coming over for the Dove Creek Stage Race, and the Podium Search- put on by the Canadian Sport Institute: it was well organised, lots of fun and really interesting to see our how I did in each test. Then it was the Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series and last was this race, the Youth Road Provincials and time trial Provincials in the Comox Valley!

I got to pre-ride the road course the day before the race and discuss with my team mate, Clara Mackenzie, our strategy for the following day. I raced u17 women, but we were put with the u19 women for the road race which made for more aggressive racing and a larger category.

All the youth at the start of the Youth Provincial Road Race
Guys are such posers :-P

Sooo, race day... After riding up to the race, we rolled out, warmed up and were off! The first 2 laps (out of 7)  stayed pretty tame, until I attacked on the hill at the start/finish. Gillian Ellsay was on me right away, with the others chasing back on fairly quickly. The race was that way for the following couple laps, with me attacking and Gillian staying with me, then a chase group catching us. A lap before the finish, as the chase group caught us again, attacks and counter attacks were launched, until it came down to Gillian and I in a break, coming down to a track-like sprint for the finish. After playing cat and mouse for a bit, Gillian attacked and won the race with me as the u17 BC road champ, and second in the sprint. All in all, a fun aggressive 63 km on a beautiful, rolling course, and I can't wait until next year were we will hopefully have even more girls racing!!

u17/u19 Women's Road Race

The following day I got to race the u17 time trial championships on a super cool, quiet course, again in the Comox Valley. A couple weeks before this, I got to race this course at the Dove Creek Stage Race, so I knew it pretty well. I ended up as the u17 Provincial time trial champ and the chance to meet and hang out with lots of other kids after the race, while waiting for the podium- which I must say, was very impressive with almost everyone in full kit and full podiums!!!

Thanks to Richard Ellsay and the Comox Valley Cycle Club for putting on an awesome event as well as Local Ride Racing, Kicking Horse Coffee, Golden Ears Physio, Giant Bikes Canada, Power2Max, Cycles Lambert and Cycling BC for the continuous support! :)

All the Youth Road Provincial Champs

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BC Road Provincials- Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series

Of course I always go into a race ready to win- especially the BC Road Champs were I got to race cat. 1/2/3 with some pro's like Anika Todd, Annie Ewart and Denise Ramsden. I proved to myself in at the Enumclaw Stage Race that I could stay in and race with the cat. 1/2/3's, so I had no doubt that it was going to be an epic weekend of racing for me!

After a ferry ride over, the weekend started with the Hotel Zed time trial along the water. I practised my corners, did a good warm up.... and missed my start!!! Ugh! Everyone I talked to afterwards though, told me that that was going to happen to me one day! Anyway, I still felt that I had a good tt (besides being 2-3 minutes behind everyone else) and applied everything from the corners to my speed that my dad and I had talked about!

Next up was the Accent Inns Cycling Classic Provincial Road Race! I raced this course last year, so I knew the course and how hard yet epic it actually is. The race started out well, with me up there in good positioning. It was an 80km road race and the first couple laps kept together with a harder pace set on the hills and an easier pace on the descents/flats. On the third lap, which was a KOM (well, Queen Of the Mountains) lap, they sprinted up the hill and I finally got dropped, but so did five others. In the end, there was a lead group of three riders, followed by another group of three riders then my group of six riders. Points went 10 deep, so I knew I had to beat at least two of the riders in our group.

Our group stayed together until the sprint finish, were I just squeezed out 10th place and two points!! :-)

So, in the criterium the next day (Bastion Square Grand Prix- BC Crit Cycling Champs) there were 29 riders who started and only 13 who finished! I managed to stay in and finish with the 12 other cat. 1/2 women! The race was crazy hard, and again, positioning was key- especially because there were accelerations after almost every corner. It was a 50 lap race which took around 45-50 minutes and had the fastest women's lap times ever recorded for this crit! It was quite aggressive with attacks being launched, but no one could stay away. So it came down to the final sprint and we were all together. On the crazy fast last corner a crash almost occurred and the pack went wide, so I took the inside line and ended up getting sixth at the finish!

It was an absolutely amazing weekend with some really good racing! Thanks to Jon Watkin, all the volunteers and sponsors and the City of Victoria for putting on an awesome race!

Thanks always to Local Ride Racing, Kicking Horse Coffee, Golden Ears Physio,  Giant Bikes Canada, Power2Max, Cycles Lambert and Cycling BC for all the support! :)
Accent Inns Cycling Classic Provincial Road Race- Final Sprint
Photo credit: Richard Wooles

Bastion Square Grand Prix- BC Crit Cycling Champs
Photo credit: Richard Wooles 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My first two Mountain Bike Races!!

The Sunshine Coaster and Ore Crusher were so much fun!! Judging by the fact that walking was a painful chore afterwards, I definitely pushed myself to my max, and now, I just need to work on skill!! I found that in both races, being a road racer and all, I was able to power up the non-technical climbs and flats and use those to my advantage, it was just when we hit the more technical sections that I couldn't ride them very fast. I found it very helpful having cyclocross skills for those obstacles that I couldn't ride- being able to dismount and mount quickly and run with my bike until I could get back on.

The Sunshine Coaster was the first mountain bike race that I had ever done, and wasn't quite sure what to expect despite the pre-race talks from my Local Ride teammates. I had a really good start, and was right up there on the climbs, once we hit the more technical trails I lost some ground, but again, was able to make it up on the non-technical climbs that followed! The race was so much fun despite all my crashes, and gave me a taste of mountain biking! I couldn't wait for Ore Crusher after that :)

Once again, we hit the road early and got up to Squamish BC with plenty of time before the race! So we (the team and I) pre-rode half of the muddy (but still epic) course and then it made sense what everyone was saying about there being quite a few roots...! Same as the Sunshine Coaster, I was right up there with the leaders on the non-technical start and then started loosing ground to those better technical racers. Although, I held my own and used my cyclocross skills to get myself through the mud and to the finish were I finished the Cycling BC Youth Mountain Bike Series Race and then did another lap to finish the Ore Crushers u17 race!

All in all, the small taste of Mountain Biking I have gotten these past months has been awesome! Thanks to everyones support and especially to my Local Ride teammates for all the help and encouragement!!

The Local Ride Family at the Sunshine Coaster
Finishing Ore Crusher

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race 2014

All year, I've look forward to the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race in Enumclaw Washington, due to the big women’s categories, awesome atmosphere and super fun courses! This year, I raced cat. 3 women, which were combined with the cat. ½ women but got scored separately. The field size was the biggest field I had raced since Superweek. There were 16 cat.3’s and 25 cat ½’s!!! It challenged me to race aggressively to stay in good pack position and to be up there to counter-attack and go with the breaks that I could. This year was especially awesome as I got to race with my new teammate, BC junior, Clara Mackenzie. Although the pack was very strong and it was difficult to work with team tactics, we went in with a plan, and I found it really nice to have someone there to cover you when possible and as moral support. This was our first race together and we proved that we make a great, determined team, not to mention that Clara looks awesome in the Local Ride blue and orange!

After pre-riding the course with my coach (aka. my dad) and talking about every corner, practicing the final sprints for the road race and crit, I went into the tt more prepared than I have probably ever been. My warm up consisted of some efforts and a gradual build until I got called to the start, being totally warmed up and ready to fly.

The time trial went really well. I ended up passing my 30 sec mark and ended up in 6th place with around 45 sec to make up on the leader, Sara Bergen.

Us BC girls: Me, Clara Mackenzie, Brenna Pauly, Kia Van der Vliet

After a delicious brunch consisting of pancakes and strawberry sauce and a nap, I went into the crit excited and nervous but also curious as to how I would match up compared to the others (cat. ½’s). Luckily this year, I didn’t crash at the start ;) and fought for good positioning right off the gun. Coming out of the race, I have a much better understanding of how crucial it is to have really good pack positioning. The race went really well for me, getting a time bonus and almost winning the sprint for the $200 prime, as well as avoiding the couple crashes (another bonus of the good positioning). In the final sprint, I got sixth out of the whole pack (cat. 1/2/3’s) and won the cat. 3 sprint.

Start of the criterium

Lastly was the road race. Once again, Clara and I went in with a plan also knowing that it was going to be a test of how much pain you can tolerate, with the 20+ min climb and all. This was the longest road race that I have ever done- 97km! 

First lap, I made my dad very nervous by almost being dropped first time up the hill!! Me and some others worked together and chased back on, were I then lasted until the last lap. The accelerations by that point, were too much for me and I got dropped, but a chase group formed and we powered out the last 10km. Coming into the sprint, I knew there were points on the line, because only Sara Bergen (out of the cat.3's) had gotten away with the lead group. So I basically had to win the sprint! The determination fueled my fire, and after a leadout by Sara Coney (thanks so much!) I started my sprint at the markers that my dad and I had figured out, and won it! 

In the GC, I ended up second with Sara Bergen in first and Megan Doherty in third. 

Congrats to all the cat. 1/2/3 women who made this race awesome!! Also, thanks to Erik Anderson for running another awesome year of Stage Racing in Enumclaw!

Thanks always to Local Ride Racing, Kicking Horse Coffee, Golden Ears Physio,  Giant Bikes Canada, Power2Max, Cycles Lambert and Cycling BC for all the support! :)

GC: 1st: Sara Bergen, 2nd: Me, 3rd:Megan Doherty

Maggie :)

Race the Ridge 2014

This was the first opportunity so far this year where I got to race with just cat. 3/4 women, so it turned out to be a really aggressive field. The weekend started off with the road race, a fairly hilly course. My teammate Kelsey MacDonald and I pushed the pace on the hills on the first lap, to see who we could knock off the back. Some attacks where initiated, but none stuck. On the second lap, I attacked on the steepest hill, knowing that the decent included some corners where I could get out of sight. After launching the attack, no one seemed to react that quickly. I pushed myself as hard as I could, until I was caught by a chase of two girls right on my tail. We worked together for the remaining three laps, and it came down to an aggressive entrance to the sprint finish with attacks being launched and elbows out. In the uphill sprint finish, Louisa Scarlett took the win with a very strong sprint followed by me for second and Gillian Ellsay in third place.

I knew, going into the time trial that it could win or lose me the race. Having pre-ridden the course and having raced it last year, I knew the speeds I had to maintain to get a good time. I felt consistent, but my time wasn't quite where it needed to be for me to move up in the GC. It was a painful time trial, but that's racing! Thanks Jeff Ain for giving me tips on my time trial position- I have been training in it and it is slowly becoming more comfortable!!

Going into the crit, I was sitting second overall with Gillian Ellsay leading by an impressive 1 min 12 sec! I calculated which primes I needed to get and by how much I had to win by to close the big gap. Kelsey and I were upfront actively attacking and countering in an attempt to get away. I ended up taking the time bonus prime, but still needed to make up quite a lot of time. So, playing with tactics, Louisa Scarlett and I tried multiple times to get away, but the pack was not about to let anyone go. The race came down to a sprint finish were I got a good lead out by Kelsey and took the win, but wasn't able to make up enough time to win the GC!! Although, I still came out as the Junior Women Leader of the BC Premier Road Series!!

All in all, an amazingly awesome, fun weekend of racing that I can't wait to race next year!! Thanks to Local Ride Racing, Kicking Horse Coffee, Golden Ears Physio, Cycles Lambert, Cycling BC, Giant Bikes, Q Energy, Power2Max, District of Maple Ridge and City of Pitt Meadows for all the continuous support!

After a couple weekends of Mountain Bike Racing, it's off to the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race- I am sooo excited!!! :-)

Play by play of my attack in the road race!!
Photos by Steve Devantier

Out of sight, out of mind!!

Thanks for reading!
Maggie Coles-Lyster