Baker City Cycling Classic 06/24-26/2016
Jen, Nicole, Dawn, (Christine in the Masters 1/2/3) and I headed to the old town of Baker City in Eastern Oregon for the Baker City Cycling Classic, which consists of 5 stages in 3 days this year — a new 1 mile uphill TT was added to the stage race. With back-to-back double days and then the final tough “alpine” road race, recovery was going to be key. After some tough racing in Minneapolis at the North Star Grand Prix I wasn’t sure how my legs would respond with yet another stage race, but sometimes you can “ride” that stage race fitness right into another race.
Stage 1 Things started off with a mostly flat and short 40 mile road race. There was one 2 mile gravel section to contend with and two small climbs. Along with a little wind and fresh legs within the peloton we knew we had our work cut out for us, but I felt confident if it came down to a field sprint. After our neutral rollout we turned into a cross/tailwind and the pace picked up as Jannalyn Luttrell drilled it at the front and over the first QOM. Her effort was enough to drop most of the lower category riders so we were down to around 12 riders headed into the second half of the race and the gravel section. Jen did a great job leading us through the gravel, keeping Nicole and I safe. Right after the gravel section there was a bit of a lull and Nicole took advantage of it by getting a gap by herself as we headed into the second small climb of the day. Nicole stayed off the front for several miles before eventually getting reeled back in by Jannalyn with about 8 miles to go; but she did a great job in forcing a chase while Jen and I just sat on and saved our legs for the end. With about 1k to go Jen went to the front as planned and began her lead out with me on her wheel. She metered her effort perfectly in the long straight tailwind finish and I came around her at 200 meters to go and held it to the line for the win! Perfect team execution resulted in a true team win AND 3rd place for Nicole!
Stage 2 Later in the evening was the new 1 mile uphill TT. The climb was short and never really all that steep, which suited me well. I went hard from the beginning and just kept the throttle at full gas all the way to the end. I had never done such a short TT effort so I had to consciously keep telling myself not to “meter” my effort and just GO! I gave it everything I had and sprinted to the line well enough for a virtual tie for first with Jen! When everything was all said and done, the next closet girl was 20 seconds behind Jen and me.
Stage 3 We started the morning with an 11 mile pancake flat TT. Not a lot to do here but go as hard as you can for ~25 minutes and don’t blow up. The first half was super fast with a tailwind; whereas the second half was slower with a cross/headwind. I passed two riders and at the line felt pretty content with my ride. Jen absolutely killed it and took the win, beating me — in second place — by 36 seconds while putting big gaps on the rest of the pack. Nicole was riding a good TT until she missed a turn and ran off the road! Luckily she was able to get back on her bike and still finish with a decent time. Unfortunately, Dawn had a rough day out there and never felt like her usual strong self.
Stage 4 The crit followed the TT later that afternoon. Unfortunately, we lost a rider, Dawn, as she was not having the best race and couldn’t get her body to perform at the level of which she is capable. It was definitely a big hit to the team but with Jen and I having a stranglehold on the GC we would solider on! Our goal going into the crit was to get EVERY prime and the win — we just about did that! We literally got every prime but one and I sprinted for the win, giving me my third win and the team’s fourth win in as many stages.
Stage 5 This was the queen stage of the BCCC! 85 miles with 7,000 feet of climbing, mostly all coming in the last 10 miles of the race where we finished at Anthony Lakes Ski Resort at 7,000 feet. The race started out SLOW and continued that way as no one — not even us — really wanted to work much. Everyone was keen with waiting until the final 12 miles and making the race into a hill climb. So with no attacks we all rotated for around 70 miles before the pace started to get upped as we headed into the lower slopes of the climb. Just after the feed zone Jen and I went to the front (as planned) to go hard from the bottom and hopefully whittle down the group and discourage people knowing they still had 10 miles of climbing left. We did just that! Jen started it and I took over while still being careful not to blow up with so much climbing to go. Looking behind us I could see only single riders spread down the road so I began to back off the pace some to make sure we had enough for the last few miles. Unfortunately, at about 5 miles to go Jen couldn’t quite hold my pace and dropped back. At the same time, Alison Frye rode up to us solo and was looking super strong. I stayed with her for the next couple of miles before I began to yo-yo off her wheel as we headed into the last 3k. Alison started the day over 8 minutes down behind Jen and I so it wasn't a huge concern if we lost a minute or two from her. Luckily I think I actually brought her back some in the downhill and flat section leading up to the finish and lost only 23 seconds to her in the end. Jen rolled in about a minute behind me and Nicole rolled in for a solid 6th place. Jen and I ended up swapping spots in the GC, with me taking the win and Jen in second!
In the end, Team PBS walked away with four stage wins, three seconds and two thirds while placing in the top two in the GC. Doesn’t get much better than that! The team was awesome all weekend and I felt so lucky to be part of such a successful 3 days of racing! After racing back-to-back big stage races consisting of 11 stages in 14 days, I am now looking forward to a much needed short break from racing. After some good rest, I'll then begin a big training build up for the now UCI sanctioned Cascade Cycling Classic coming up in about 3 weeks! PBS is sending a super strong team and I'm so excited to see what we can do against the world's best cyclists!
Share this blog!
Mikayla is a tall cyclist living in Portland, OR. She is a vegetarian and animal lover. Mikayla is tall and uses her long legs as leverage.
Check out Mikayla Maier's cycling blog here!
Read about Mikayla Maier's cycling adventures, thoughts on off-season training and being a vegetarian cyclist!