Thank you, Rosemount Cycling Club, for supporting four NorthStar Development girls racing in Le Tour De La Releve Internationale De Rimouski from July 4th to July 8th, 2018. This is an important 5-day stage race for cadet-age girls (15–16 age). Its mission is to prepare young athletes for international competition in Tour De France style stage racing. This is the only North American stage race for girls to experience stage racing, in a large field (70!) of other girls.
So, here is our girl’s team: Erika, Josephine, Lily, and Jennifer. Besides sharing a passion to race their bikes, they also all have a strong academic ethic. All four athletes are in IP classes in their respective schools. These four are a great example of balancing school, their passion to race bikes, and multiple other activities.
All four girls attended a March team spring camp, for a week of structured base training, during school break. Weekly training for the girls included multiple long rides in the Stillwater and Rosemount areas, team time trial practice, and hill repeats. We attended two omnium events, LaCrosse and Quad Cities. And, of course, they did lots of local racing.
The Stage Race
Despite their good training the girls were surprised how challenging the stage race was! (Charlie: Hey, it’s a tough sport!)
Stage 1 — Team Time Trial
Distance: 7 km.
This event is really cool to watch, following the beautiful Saint Lawrence Seaway. The girls had an exciting first stage.
Lily, the team's starter and one of our strongest riders, was the first to get dropped and this put a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of everyone else since the remaining riders had to finish together.
Stage 2 — Road Race
Distance 78 km.
This race was very challenging. Lily flatted but with the aid of the follow vehicle, driven by Coach Charlie, she was back in the race within 2 minutes. By that time, the field had already been shattered. All four girls finished feeling humbled. (Charlie: They learned to feed at a feed zone, get mechanical support from the team car, and dig deep to finish with the field or within the time limit.)
Stage 3 — Individual Time Trial
Distance: 15 km.
Josephine discovered she really likes to time trial. All the girls had to spin up their cadet gears (no higher than a 52 - 16 gear) to make the most of a strong tail wind. And they each learned a lot about suffering into the strong return head wind.
Stage 4 — Criterium
Distance: 35 x 1 km
This stage had a cut-off time. The girls needed to finish 17 laps to continue to the final stage 5. In truth, they were a little nervous leading into this stage.
The team had plans to immediately get to the front of the field and fight like crazy to stay there to ride safely and most efficiently. They executed perfectly and had some of their best results even though nearly a third of the field was dropped.
Stage 5 — Road Circuit
Distance: 76 km.
This was the most challenging of all the stages with a HUGE wall to climb. Think of Chilkoot Hill, but 1 km long(!), and 6 laps.
The girls were getting tired leading into this stage.
The girls knew they would finish the stage and were realistic they would not be on the podium. That wasn’t our goal for coming, we came to learn, try out some new skills and to finish all 5 stages. We did it!
Young athletes in other sports get the thrill of traveling with a team to develop skills and practice teamwork. These kids are just as bike crazy as our Rosemount Cycling Club members. Thanks again for helping them grow in competitive cycling!