Winning the Battenkill W/1/2/3 was a great achievement for the CRCA/Radical Media team. The team of Ashley Prine, Maria Quiroga, Ceclia Pleva, and Maggie Shirley worked to get Evie Stevens the victory. Maggie Shirley recounts how it happened. Photos are by David Carbonell.
The first 9 miles or so was totally chill with radical setting a decent clip at the front to keep evie out of the wind but comfortable. Thanks Maria for your crazy draft. I needed you.
So this is where the narrative gets choppy (at mile 9) cause I went into something like reptilian survival mode in which language is condensed to grimaces and grunts…and the frontal cortex lies unused….
So what I remember…Anna Milkowsi (who apparently knows the course) attacks into the first gravel stretch after which follows a series of turns and a narrow covered bridge with about 65 of my favorite female riders knocking around beside me. Evie and I fall to the middle of the pack immediately before the climb; our plans were foiled. Have no fear, dear reader, we scurried up the gravel on the right side of the road to find ourselves beside the likes of the gasping Anna and ahead of the middling pack following us up the climb….
Again reptilian, I remember something like evie attacking at the bottom of the first climb, then lynne bessette (yes, that lynn bessette which we will further to refer to as winner of redlands and total canadian badass (damn those canadians) chased her down and then launched a pathetic counter…to which our Evie gives her the smiling grimace and lays down another. At some point, the road changes from smooth pavement to dirt…and I’m like wholly pooh this race is for real. I’m watching all this as they, yes, climb away from me. I’m reminding myself that these damn sprinters legs tend to go hard for me (for about 10 seconds) and then fill up with acid and send me into wheezing fits as I fly backwards on the climbs…So I try to remain within myself…hehe. No can do with evie running the show up the climbs.
So frankly, I get dropped and as I crest the top…I can see three groups of two straggling about 10 meters apart with the field about 30 meters up the road. Ack. So my mind-set is something like, this ain’t happening, and I slam it into my big ring and start to haul through the slight downhill gathering girls in my draft.
Anyway, I get to the pack and look around for evie…but alas no teammie. I’m like there is no way I passed her and didn’t notice…and then I see the pesky canadian chasing and realize…ah ha..she is off the front…OF COURSE.
So the pack chases for 3 miles or so…through some rollers,etc. And I get to just sit for awhile…thanks evie.
We roll a bit more through some flats and then hit another climb. (May I point out again that evie pulled way to much the entirety of this race. I often tried to get in front of her and block some wind but then got frustrated with the stupidity of pulling around a WORLD CHAMPION and one of the nations best sprinters…so I slunk back to the pack. hehe (got to get my jabs in where I can)…but I guess it didn’t hurt evie to much in the end anyway.)
So we climb again…and yes…surprise, surprise, evie attacks again at the base of the climb. This time the tempo of the pack is more steady and I am able to haul my sprinter ass up and over the climb on the strung out remnants of the pack. (BTW, I wheeze….who knew).
Anyway, we descend a bit and around mile 35 with evie presumably a bit gassed from setting tempo off the front; I attack. So I’m not sure what happened in the field at this point. Pretty sure they decided to just let me fry out there (damn them) but I was having fun. I felt pretty good and decided to try to keep my pace around 24 miles an hour (except the uphills) and lay some tempo. At some point I was told I had about 45 seconds, which was fairly cool…but as soon as I was beginning to have delusions of grandeur (or at least hoping a small group would bridge up). I guess the pack decided they didn’t like my style and started to work. So after five miles of an effort I was reeled back in (boo.) and boy did evie’s counter hurt.
Some more rolling (and yes, evie was on the front).
All that followed was dust, crazy, gravelly pain. I must say that these girls all had fairly mad handling skills cause there was several near disasters as women fishtailed down the gravel descents but we managed to finish it all rubber side down.
Anyway, so there was a roller coaster section which consisted of three gravel power climbs ( I think this was the section with 25% grade) and three gravel descents. I was totally gassed and holding on for dear life. I could see Bessette and Laura Van Gilder(LVG) looking frisky up front and got worried when evie was climbing near me. No fear though…one word…like evie get up there and she sets gravel spewing with spinning legs as she vaults to the front. I realized my folly when the pace picks up and I’m begging for pity in my own head from my teammate on the front.
It all comes down to the final climb…which I regret to say I hardly remember…except pain, pain, pain…and then Oh wow, LVG is falling off…I can catch her (I’d been dropped already). Evie in the meantime, attacks and managed to bring five or so with her.
The rest of evie’s story is she finally found someone as willing to work as she is in anna mccloon and the two of them make the made dash to the finish with several on their wheels. Evie wins in an impressive dash to the line from 300 meters away…a true (I’m a whole lot faster than these chicks) way to win.
My story….I latch onto LVG’s wheel thinking, well she might pull me to the finish. She looks back (knows I’m not gonna help her in any way) and lays down an impressive pull. We pick up audrey from anthem and several other girls (I think we finished with 6 or so)…. I am TOTALLY stoked at this point cause I GET TO TRY MY NEW SPRINT AGAINST LVG and I know she is tired. hehe. I think…maybe, just maybe.
So the long and short of it is…she still kicked my ass….but I did manage to keep up with her for the first third of the acceleration…which I must say was a mighty proud half a second.
Ladies, I had fun. Sorry for my long winded report.