Thursday, March 22, 2012

Out of the Saddle: 2012 Redlands Women's Prologue...

The ladies of the SC Velo/Empower Coaching Team, all pictured below within the final 500 meters of the Redlands Bicycle Classic prologue, show differences in riding style at the end of the course. Ha, you say, and you would be right. That is far too simplistic - in the saddle, or out, using aero bars, or somewhere on standard road bars, depends where along the course you happen to be. Generally tending upward over slightly more than three miles, a profile of the course looks like a series of steps, with the largest and steepest one there to aggravate the racers at about the 600 meter to go mark.

Jenny Rios

Lisa Campbell

Beatriz Rodriguez

Never having attained pro or category 1 status, I never had the opportunity to race this course, but judging the often heavy breathing, I am not sure aggravate is the right word to use. Maybe torture would be better. Anyway, most people attack those short steps out of the saddle, and then stretch out on the short, flatter sections in between on their aero bars, the drops, or even on the brake hoods. I don't think I could use aero bars on this course. Constantly shifting on and off of them in response to the shifting gradients might shatter any rhythm I would have hoped to attain. That probably just shows how much more talent the racers out there today have than do/did.

Priscilla Calderon

Amber Gaffney

That said, it was nice out there today, warm, but not too much; a slight breeze seemed to be at the racers back. Judging by the way some of them charged by, even at the top of the steepest step, I was expecting some fast times. Speaking of which Megan Guarnier of Team Tibco blazed to the fastest time of the women at 11 minutes 19.41 seconds. Second was Amber Neben (Specialized Lululemon), 6.39 seconds slower. Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS) took third at 9.25 seconds back. 

Photos from the men's prologue will be up, probably tomorrow, as well as photos from the hand-bike racers, who preceded the men and women pros. The Redlands Bicycle Classic, the oldest running stage race in Southern California, dating back to 1985, runs through Sunday. Check their website for information on all the upcoming action. As for the SC Velo women, Amber Gaffney finished best, with the 17th fastest time, just over 37 seconds behind Guamier, good position going into the road race and criterium stages.

Joy Duerkson

Holly Breck

Slideshow of photos can be seen by clicking here. The photos are not in order of start, but are grouped by team and , since I often took multiple photos of each rider, I narrowed things down by selecting the best one of each. Easier to check through that way.

fastest woman on the day, Megan Guarnier (Team Tibco / To The Top)

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