The last weekend of August marked the end of the Ontario road season, with the Provincial Criterium Championships on Saturday and Tour di Via Italia on Sunday, both in Windsor. For those looking to do three races, there was the Debates-Devos 50th annual crit in Auburn Hills, MI, on the holiday Monday.
That is what the trio of Stevens riders Braydon Bourne, Ben Andrew and myself (Emily Flynn) set out to do. With Ben’s parents living near Windsor it also made for a nice little vacation.
On Saturday the temperature and tensions were high. The women’s field was small, but nonetheless it was an exciting race, with Real Deal rider Sarah Rassmussen and me going off the front halfway through the race. The race came down to a sprint and I took the win and my first provincial title!
In the men’s race, Braydon was able to make the break, which ended up lapping the field. At this point he was guaranteed a top 10. Once making it back to the field he helped Ben to make another split. Ben was the only U23 to make this split, which went to the line, making it his first provincial title as well! Braydon was able to keep the pace high and finish in a close sprint for fourth.
With a solid day of racing under our belts we were looking forward to the infamous Tour di Via Italia the next day. Again the day was hot, so hot pantyhose were filled with ice to be placed in jersey pockets. Again with a smaller women’s field, I wanted to make the race hard, but this was also the plan of two very strong U.S. riders who came up for the race. After following many attacks, I was unable to make the winning sprint, but won the bunch sprint taking fourth. The Stevens boys were racing really well with Braydon taking some flyers and Ben covering moves. However, they had some bad luck in the finale and were unable to contest the sprint. They would be looking for redemption the following day in Michigan.
After an easy border crossing, we found ourselves at the race course set in an industrial complex with some sweeping corners and wide roads. I was looking to take the U.S. girls to battle, but with a very short race (25min), it came down to a sprint in which I took third. The men’s race saw many of the big hitters from the day before, making for a very strong field. Braydon was again able to make the break, which almost lapped the field. In the end he took third in the bunch sprint and fourth for the day.
All in all it was a solid weekend of racing for the team. For me it marked the end of my road season and now am looking forward to track and cyclocross.