For those unfamiliar, the points race is held on the Star Speedway in Epping, NH. It's a 1/4 mile race track, and the women's field races for 50 laps. One would think that the pavement would be in excellent shape given that cars race here, but that is far from the case - care needs to be taken for bumps and wheel-sucking cracks going in the same direction of the riders. After the events of the previous night, I tried to make sure that EVERYONE racing got out on the track to see what it was like. We also had two women who had been involved in the previous night's crash back racing with us last night - YAY! Marie and Christine both had some good road rash, but got back on their bikes to join in the fun.
Earlier in the day I had sent the team a message about safety and strategy. The strategy was pretty simple - beat Kristen ;). Our plan was for everyone to move when Kristen moved, all sprint for points, and to let Kristen sit on the front and do most of the work - NEVER going past her to provide a wheel. About three laps into the race, Kristen decided to go off the front and see if she could lap the field (which would have given her 20 points). I was in the back, and had to move really fast to counter the attack, but got on her wheel. Some of the field weren't quite ready for such a fast move so early in the race, and at one point, Kristen and I were close to lapping some of the women before the first sprint points! More women joined us, however, including Clara, and we had a few uneventful laps, executing strategy perfectly. Between us, Kristen, Clara and I took most of the sprint points, and Kristen and I traded off winning the sprints.
At the halfway point, the sprint is worth double points. I had Clara on the front, with a fairly tired (or so I thought) Kristen on my wheel. When the bell rang I told Clara this was the one that counted and to ramp it up. When I told her to go, she put out a huge effort, and I managed to take that sprint, with Clara also taking points!
The second half of the race was more of the same. Kristen on the front, and the rest of us battling it out for sprint laps. In hindsight, my strategy of leaving Kristen on the front no matter what was a little off - it allowed her to slow to a much more comfortable pace for her, and still have legs to counter any sprints. Add that to me somehow getting forced to the outside on each sprint lap (meaning I had to go that much further), and she bested me most of the time.
In the end, Kristen bested me. It was a great race though, and she deserved the win for all of the effort she put out. Clara was awesome in giving leadouts when they counted and the team executed my "Beat Kristen" strategy flawlessly (even though it didn't help us in the end).
Katherine and Kathy also had good races! After getting lapped at one point, both of them were able to jump back onto the lead, and hang in for the remainder of the race.
Final results for the evening (we had 11 starters):
The big news is in the overall, however, where the NEBC women cleaned up! Not only did we do well in the General Classification (GC), but also in the Queen of the Mountains (QOM) points competition:
2nd GC (3rd QOM) Cathy
3rd GC (2nd QOM) Clara
4th GC Katherine
8th GC Kathy
Despite some of the encounters the team had with the race (including losing Julie to injury in the Circuit Race), everyone had a fantastic week. I hope they all got some well-deserved rest over the weekend.