Beth Miller’s account of her win in the Bear Mountain’s Women’s 1/2/3 race. She rides for North Atlantic Velo/

Bear Mountain is one of my favorite courses, except for the finish, until now …

Almost 60 women lined up at the start line. Though a bit cool, it was a beautiful, sunny day. I knew I needed to ride agressively–in my career thus far, flat or downhill sprints were not my strength. I was prepared to keep attacking in the hills.

While out training the week before the race, my “men friends” were telling me that if I rode the race like I was riding with them, there should be no reason I shouldn’t win, and I was tired of getting 5th or 6th.

I knew I had women to watch–Mary Zider and Rebecca Wellons, NEBC/Devonshire Dental, Silke Wunderwald, Independent Fabrication, Natasha Elliott, EMD/Serono/Stevens, and yes, Andy Ruiz (my boyfriend) pointed out Jen Stephenson, Team Ultralink.

Though our neutral start was supposed to last only until we exited the 180 U-turn at the bottom of the screaming descent to where the road Y’s, ours lasted until the top of the climb. The cat 4 men who started just a few minutes in front of us seemed to need some time to get their legs and start racing. Though we were told they would be neutralized at the top for us to pass, turned out it wasn’t necessary, and at the top of the climb, the race was on for both our fields.

1st lap, the group primarily stayed together. Once through the finish though, the pace picked up, with Anne Marie Miller driving it on the downhill, and women fighting for position to prepare for the 180 again. Into the climb, Silke attacked, with quick response from Team Ultralink and Equipe Cascades.

2nd lap was characterized by attacks from EMD/Serono/Stevens, Team Ultralink Equipe Cascades, and LeYeti. 3rd time through the 180, I attacked, with a gap opening where the road Y’s. Thanks to the Comedy Central Rider cheering me on there! Silke was about 100 m behind, trying to get my wheel, and I desperately wanted her there. Though I slowed a bit, she was unable to make contact, and so I had to put my head down and suffer through the long climb alone.

About half way through, I could see the train of green riders from Canada at the front, the rest of the field single file, and I fought to make it to the top before they caught me. We were down to about 20 riders now in the front group.

4th lap was time to recover and save something for the sprint. Team HPC kept the pace high, with Ultralink and Equipe Cascades initiating attacks, all of which were covered by various riders.

Coming into the final few miles, I saw Rebecca Wellons came up the right side of the road (to the right of me), and so I grabed her wheel and stayed on it until about 200m to go, and seeing an opening, gave it all I had. Didn’t know I had it until I saw the white line under my wheel. Fantastic race–my best result yet.