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Superior Morgul Omnium Cat 4

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Superior Morgul, one of the best three day race weekends on the Front Range, is a tough staple in the CO racing scene. But luckily, our ladies are tough cookies. Brittany shares her experience over the weekend including a 1st place finish up the infamous “Wall!”

Thanks to Shawn Curry and Dejan Smaic for images! Visit their websites for some great ones.

Throughout the duration of the Superior Morgul Omnium, I learned that while my teammates are as obsessed as I am with creating and instituting plans, they are also remarkably adaptable, resourceful, and quick-thinking. They are very strong women, capable of winning races in their own rights, but they are more than willing to figuratively turn themselves inside out for someone else’s win. To say that sort of dedication to the group is “admirable” doesn’t really do them justice, and when I became the focus of that dedication this weekend, I was taken aback.

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Friday’s Time Trial; I knew I was at a disadvantage with my road bike, clip-on aero bars, and borrowed TT helmet, particularly since I’d only previously used aero bars once, about a year ago. It went as well as could be expected, not terrible, but not nearly as good as I needed it to be. Katie Harrer, on the other hand, demonstrated (for merely the first time over the course of the weekend) what a phenomenal powerhouse she is by finishing third.

Saturday morning, five of us checked in for the crit, warmed-up, and discussed the pros and cons of several possible plans. Katie, Emily Zinn, Jamie Arispe, I, and our fearless leader and schemer, Amanda Bye settled on one we all liked and lined up.

This race changed the game, or rather, put me back in the game after my less-than-stellar showing the day before, and my teammates did everything in their power to get me there. They all worked so hard the entire race and they were always where I needed them to be. Jamie dragged me up to the front for the second points prime. And, on the final lap, Katie absolutely buried herself leading me out. And we were successful. We ended the day with Katie and I both in the top 5 for the GC.

Sunday’s road race was a feat of remarkable quick-thinking, adaptability, and unbelievably hard work for everyone—all the racers, the promoters, the sponsors, the town of Superior, and Boulder County. The fencing company that was contracted to supply barriers, cones and signage for this iconic road race—which flies down highway 93 in the midst of vehicular traffic—abruptly closed its doors without any forewarning. Without Limits Productions worked closely with Superior and Boulder County to change the course, so that it would be safe without the expected supplies. What was a circuit became a repeated out-and-back course. I have a feeling that very few people involved in this set-up slept much, if at all, Saturday night, and as far as I’m concerned they pulled off an impressive feat and gave us a course that might have been more challenging than the original.

Amanda, Emily, Katie, and I lined up ready to suffer up the wall three times. Katie made the first move, attacking on the rollers towards 93. She took everyone by surprise, and they had to work pretty hard to reel her back in. Once they caught Katie, I took off up the last hill before 93, and was pulled back by the turn-around point. The rest of the race was a series of pulls (definitely too many and for too long), hiding from the wind, and pulling people back.

As we started up the Wall for the third and final time everyone got a little tense. I had moved to the front. Finally, one of the women jumped. I picked up my pace, and two other women went with me. The first woman faded; we passed her and at the final pitch, the top of the Wall, I managed to eke half a wheel across the line first!

And after a long weekend of hard work, my team moved me from 9th overall to 5th, to finally end in 2nd place. I’m incredibly excited about my first place finish, for myself, but also as my contribution to the team’s efforts.

The Perfect Storm


Race Report from Amanda Bye and her epic experience with Superior Morgul. She has the heart of a lion.

Gearing up for my first omnium I was nervous but did not anticipate how the three days of intense racing would turn out. The checklist for the race weekend went something like this: Make sure to eat a lot of calories to help with recovery, have something to eat/drink right after each race, skinsuit, shoe covers, borrowed helmet and wheels for TT. The TT was on a Friday evening and thus required a mad rush to get to the race in time for a short warm up, get my number pinned on, then 3, 2, 1 and I was off…

The TT started rather odd as it took me a moment to click into my pedals. First mile mostly downhill. This is good for me as my strengths are downhills and turns. Then the perfect storm hit. A car had stopped in the roundabout and I locked up my brakes and veered to the right to pass the vehicle. Then I heard a mother yell something that I could not make out but the panic in her voice was undeniable. As I looked forward I saw a young child who was in the crosswalk and was directly in my path. The car had stopped to let the family cross the street. At 36 mph I was still going entirely too fast to stop. Do I hit the car, the child or the curb? I hit the curb and my body was hurled into the air and across the street and grass. Amanda Cyr who started 20 seconds after I did, saw me laying on the ground with a startled look and asked if she should stop. “No, keep going” I yelled towards her, she did but seeing this affected the remainder of her race and weekend.

A course official and the family both stated that they were sorry and should have been paying closer attention. The two thoughtful medics who saw the whole accident stated that I did the best that I could and anyone would have had to hit the curb to miss the car and child. I spent the next 30 minutes getting cleaned up by the medics and peeling my shredded and bloody new skinsuit off. Good news- no broken bones. I had roadrash on my left leg, hip, arm, back and hand. It also happened to be one week before I was the maid of honor in a wedding and before this race my biggest worry was about tan lines. I asked the medics if I could finish the race, even though I was in no shape to do so. Later the race official let me know that I was still eligible for the rest of the omnium. Hence my team could get points for the weekend if I showed up to each event regardless of my placement.

As I was getting cleaned up my incredibly thoughtful team was looking for me and were genuinely worried and sympathetic. They provided words of encouragement and were kind to stick around until they knew I was safe and had a ride back to Denver. I was rattled and in too much pain to drive back on my own. Then all the kind words, calls and emails started pouring in.

I have to admit I was sad about the situation, exhausted from all the adrenalin and tears and utterly scared to get back on my bike. The most distressing thought was that I could have hit that child and who knows if at that speed the impact would have killed him? I was so scared. I received advice from fellow cyclists who had been through similar situations to get back on my bike when I felt ready but that it is best to do so more sooner than later. When I got home, I realized what was not on my checklist for that weekend…Tegaderm. Now the closest Walgreens to my house is sold out thanks to my spouse. I showered, scrubbed the abrasions, tegadermed the left side of my body and took ibuprofen.

I did not sleep well that night as I was unable to get comfortable due to the pain. I got about four hours of sleep. It was cold and raining the next morning. I could not wear leg warmers as no matter where I placed them, they would rub my road rash. No leg warmers it was. Bundled up and with significant support from my team, including (but not limited to) Barb who came out in the freezing cold to cheer us on and Amanda who was my chauffeur I decided to follow my fellow cat 4s, (wo)man up and do the crit. The hilly, wet, technical crit. I was dropped after the first lap but that did not matter as my biggest concern was getting back in the saddle. It ended up that it was good that I got dropped and was not close to the lead group as there was a crash towards the end of the race but I never saw the accident as I am unsure if I would have continued if I had seen it.

Sunday the weather took a turn for the better. It was sunny and warm. I could not put sunblock over the Tegaderm and was aware that the abrasions were sensitive to the sun. I placed gauze pads over each area that would be exposed to sun and then a nylon band around my lower leg, this would protect the areas and look rather bad ass. We all lined up for the 30 mile road race and then the bad news, we had a neutral lap until we got to the roundabout. Yes, the roundabout. Then we would have to go through the roundabout two more times during the race. I did not care about the hills or the distance but was terrified of that roundabout. What happened to my confidence in going fast and around turns?

I began the race near the front of the pack and all the ladies were encouraging. Then we got to the wall and I was dropped. Amanda stayed back with me (although she clearly had enough energy to keep going). She said that her only goal that day was to ensure that I finished the race. She pulled me for several miles as my confidence began to increase once again. We caught up to three other ladies and all worked together to complete the race. I once again was able to go fast on the downhills and through corners. I even got compliments from people who did not know that I had crashed a few days prior. We came into THE ROUNDABOUT and I dropped to the very back and was able to ride through it rather well. The last lap, I went into it first, did not brake and cornered like a pro.

This weekend was exhausting both physically and mentally. I learned how to conquer fear, be strong, bandage wounds and persevere. However, all of that is nothing compared to the biggest lesson of the weekend, which is that I have the best cycling teammates that anyone could ask for. Thank you to all the Bellas for the love and support. Also to Amanda who made me laugh with the picture of me as Johnny Hoogerland.

Marisa takes overall win in the Moab Gran Fondo


Teammate Marisa gets it done like a boss! She has won every race she’s entered this year-and we aren’t just talking category or cycling either. Overall-and puts a hurtin’ on the men in the process. Let’s hope we can do it again this weekend at Superior Morgul.

This past weekend marked the most beautiful ride and race I have ever embarked upon…now, that says a ton!  It was a relatively last minute decision to head over to Moab to race the Grande Fondo Moab, but with the excellent reviews I had received it seemed like a great way to get some extra fitness in.  Sixty two miles and 5,500 feet of climbing-PERFECT! Continue reading on her blog!


Superior Morgul Classic Race Report

Race Report from Rachel Scott

Superior Morgul Classic Crit and Road Race

5/28/11 and 5/29/11

SW 3- 1st place and SW3-2nd place

CRIT-Let me preface this post by saying this: I have the most selfless teammates ever. From Vera giving me her gloves in the snow for the Cherry Creek Time Trial to all our ladies coming together for our Ride for Reading event to this epic race-which I’ll go into detail later about Joan saving my race-our women are top-notch on or off the bike. I truly mean that and am so thankful to be on this team…

So for those reading this post that aren’t aware of this course or have yet to see American Flyers, here’s the synopsis from the website:

The Superior Morgul Classic is two days of bike racing culminating with the historic Morgul-Bismarck road race. The Morgul-Bismarck is a well known 13 mile loop that was originally featured as part of the Red Zinger and then the Coors Classic in the seventies and eighties. This well loved and respected course is a favorite of local riders and will be featured in the Omnium for regional, national and international riders to experience.

This was a must on my calendar to earn some upgrade points since scoring the women separately, not to mention getting a discounted entry via the Handlebargains deal the month prior. Beginning with Saturday’s crit, I had no idea how many(or few) Cat 3 women would show up. As usual, our field was combined with the SW1/2 women with several big players including Cari Higgins of PB & Co.Twenty12, the MapMyRide.com/Primal pro team and several other strong staples in the CO racing scene-which is pretty much everyone. I wasn’t feeling the greatest having had only 3 or so spotty hours of sleep the night before and general fatigue from an insanely busy work/social week. Rolled up two hours prior and completed my typical race prep routine: get registered, grab safety pins and hunt out an innocent bystander to pin my skinsuit, eat a banana, and pee at least 5 times prior to my warm up. I found Berta and Kat of RockyMounts and warmed up with them, moaning incessantly about my prerace nerves and asking myself rhetorical questions as to why I race each and every weekend if I get such anxiety. I’m sure I was pretty annoying but they seemed to tolerate me.

Determined to get a great spot considering I’ve started 3rd row in each of my 123 crits, and of course, missed the group coming around and lined up in the 3rd row…again. Starting on a hill, this would be interesting to see how quickly the ladies in front would clip in to give me a halfway decent start. Not the best, but I grabbed a good wheel and slowly navigated up near the front. Clearly not soon enough because before I could even catch my breath from the first few laps, a break had formed off the front of 3 never to be seen again. WTF?

So instead of chasing using (wo)manpower from the bigger teams present, with the exception of a few good attacks thrown in there, the pace didn’t pick up as much as the previous week’s Sonic Boom. I know this to be true because I actually spent some time up front instead of sucking wheel. I also didn’t burst any blood vessels in my eyes this week or suffer from incredible ‘track hack’ as Vera puts it.

The course started you on an uphill, which is the same one we finished on, and through a series of what appeared to be a giant S of driveways and alleyways through a neighborhood into a bombing descent out of a right-hand turn into a right-hand turn up the hill to the finish. Fun course, not too technical, nor too flat either. A little bit for every strength. There were some sprint, QOM points and cash thrown in for primes, which I didn’t focus on due to the fact I wanted to podium to get my upgrade(which I didn’t get points for my USAC races dadgumit!).

So when it came down to the final three laps, I made sure I conserved and moved up on the downhill and in the corners where I felt comfortable. Coming into the last sprint, I really just needed to make sure I was the first Cat 3, so I went for a l-o-n-g sprint and came out 9th overall of the 23 starters and 1st Cat 3. I was happy with my placing considering all the 1’s and 2’s in my field. Joan also helped by keeping me out of the wind and surfing through the crowd to get me a good placing.

Time: 52:30
Place: 1st in my cat(9th overall)
Starters: 23(4 in my category)
Finishers: 23
Winnings: $65, 5 extra sprint points for the omnium and the race leader’s pink jersey
Points: BIG FAT ZERO considering we were one girl shy of having a large enough field to earn some points.

ROAD RACE-I’m still unsure whether to be happy or upset with my performance. But the focus for this race shouldn’t be on my performance, rather my teammate’s incredible knack for putting other’s first. Joan and I lined up together since they were starting our group of six Cat 3’s with the 1/2’s again. Some girls came out with fresh legs, but all in all, it was the same key women who dominated the day prior.

The 13.3 mile loop has 750 vertical feet of elevation gain with significant grades and the finish at the top of the ‘Wall’(which we actually did 5 times) for 4 laps. This was the first warm day of the year, and I paid dearly for it despite my southern blood. The day before, I was exhausted from the effort and lack of sleep, not to mention running a few errands post race. I didn’t really rehydrate at all nor eat anything significant for dinner-just wasn’t hungry and simply too tired to eat. NEVER again. It’s much better to force something, anything down than to experience the pain of leg cramps.

We started out and I wanted to stay near the front for the wall. I made it up with the first group with all of us still together. I pulled probably a little too much and the sun started to burn the clouds away. After feeling pretty comfortable on that first lap, we hit the hump and then came up to the wall again. This time, things started to shake up a bit. Three girls broke off the front and a chase group comprised of some super strong 1/2’s and me the lone 3. Joan wasn’t there, and I was shocked. She’s a helluva better climber than I am. My group worked together but not harder than the three girls in front of us apparently because their gap grew, and we were caught by a few other stragglers on the descent before the hump. Luckily, Joan was there but so were a couple of strong girls in my category.

Lap 3-that’s when things started falling apart. My cleat was loose on my right foot and I overcompensated with my left leg to keep from pulling my shoe from my pedal. That combined with the heat and lack of hydration, my legs started to disintegrate. It started with my left calf and then spread to my left hamstring. I had hoped it would go away after the wall, which I fell back on and luckily Joan waited to pull me up to the group. I told her that I didn’t think I could finish and she would have none of it. If I just simply finished, I was in the money. I didn’t want to look like a loser, failure, or anything of the sort, especially since I’ve never had a DNF not to mention how embarrassing would that be in the freakin’ leader’s jersey!?

She kept telling me to sit in and hydrate, which I began to do and shove Powerbar gels in my mouth. The pain never went away as it usually does and eventually migrated to my right hamstring and quad. Crap. My pedal stroke was completely unpredictable and cornering was ridiculous with my quads locking up each time I put weight on a leg. But Joan was there and wouldn’t let me quit.

Round 4 up that stupid wall. I cracked. Joan saw it. And while she had the legs to keep going, she didn’t. She waited for me and PUSHED ME UP THE WALL. Literally. Not only that, once over the punchy hill, I thought the group was gone. They looked so far away and my legs were toast. Joan told me to eat and sit on her wheel. She pulled hard and I could barely hang on. We ended up catching Anne who was just off the back of the main group. They were in our sights and with Anne’s descending skills and Joan’s strong pulls, we were able to catch up to the group coming into the hump. Joan also grabbed a powerade for me in the neutral feed because I could only grab a water with my placement. Shortly after the feedzone, that’s when we dropped the other Cat 3, and I managed to stay with the group coming into the last climb. I knew I’d fall back but I was there and was nearly done. I told Joan she better go if she had the legs after hauling my lame ass around, and she made her way up the front. And then Joan did what she does best(on the road that is), and hit the wall hard. She held onto it too and got a 5th place finish in the P1/2 field!! I could see Amber, the only other Cat 3 in the field, looking back at me and realizing she had the V, so she fell back a bit too. I limped in about 1 minute behind the field and my legs immediately seized. I have ridden through cramps but never for over an hour and a half at the speeds that we did. This would NOT have been possible had Joan not been there. I would have had to pull out or finish at minimum 1 hour back assuming I could even finish.

I still am in awe with how selfless Joan was to potentially sacrifice her race to help me finish and accomplish my goals. That’s what teammates are for and I cannot wait to cat up and help her in upcoming races(assuming I’m strong enough to do so). I can think of no one else more deserving of praise than Joan that day. She had an incredible race. I on the other hand, after drinking 3 large electrolyte recovery Powerbar beverages, 3 bottles on the bike, a 32 oz nalgene, a Mix1, and three beers, I peed once following the race. Clearly dehydrated, and probably not smart drinking those beers or going for a 3 hour mountain bike ride the next day. But you live and learn. Next time, my nutrition will be much better and I’ll get that wall next year! I just hope it’s me leading Joan out for a big V!

Stats: 19.02 mph average
Time: 2:48:44
Distance: 53.5 miles
Place: 2nd in my cat(16th overall)
Starters: 23(6 in my category)
Finishers: 23
Winnings: $75, $90 for the omnium(if I got 1st, still not posted)
Points: 2 points towards 2 upgrade and BAR Points but unsure just how many