Saturday's road course was like a piece of corrugated iron on steroids -big rollers all day long. Despite multiple breakaway attempts, including truly lion-size efforts made by our own, Steph Roorda, the bunch maintained a healthy weight of 30 odd (albeit beaten-up) riders into the finish. Dotsie, Lauren and Steph were all off the front approaching the final mile but in the finish the race was one by Mellow Mushroom's Laura Van Gilder with Ruth finishing 10th. Again, there was no change to the overall standings.
Today's final stage was nothing short of a cruel way to finish a stage race. A "criterium" with an 800m climb and 1.2 km curving downhill, the leg burn was apparent in the first lap as riders lost contact. Ruth quickly went on the attack and broke clear with Webcor's Gina Grain and Tibco's Brooke Miller. The trio stayed clear for most of the race but Grain and Miller were unwilling participants, and eventually Team Type 1 reeled them back. Race leader, Alison Powers counter attacked and no-one could respond. Lauren Ellis gave a gallant effort in the final laps to set Ruth up for the uphill sprint, and Ruth pounced across the line for a close finish with Jen McCrae. Ruth was crowned third in the stage, and moved up to fourth overall.
Tomorrow the Jazz Apple girls head 'home' to their US families in Monterey California and settle in for the stretch of racing ahead. We were thrilled to get all of your well wishes, and just so grateful for your support. We have been pogo-ing around with energy to burn from our GU energy gels and E2 Performance Bodywell Hydro and Power Charge Protein mix. We've topped that up with a balanced diet of Jazz Apples -at least the recommended 5 servings of fruit per day. Also, we've had nothing short of sterling carriage from our FUJI Bikes and ControlTech parts, glove-like comfort from our Champion System threads and sheer optical clarity (even when fully cross-eyed and oxygen starved) from our smart, Smith race eyewear and casuals. Fortunately the job of keeping rubber-side down is that much easier with the nifty 'black chili' compound technology behind Continental tires. Thank you also to LAKE cycling shoes and Grammo wheels.
Best wishes to you all,
The Jazz Apple girls