Spoke Talk: Amy Charity reflects on the Colorado Classic
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Eighteen unread messages on WhatsApp, and the race finished 45 minutes ago. I’m at serious risk of missing out on a Chipotle burrito if I don’t respond quickly.
“Bags to the van” — Lee (team owner)
“I have recovery mix in the cooler” — Sabrina (team soungier)
“Heather is at the anti-doping tent, take her some water” — Cathy (team owner)
“Return race radios to their case” — Sabrina
“Need Chipotle orders” — Alex (team owner)
Stage racing requires a traveling village of supporters to pull off the logistics. Even though we’re one of the smaller teams racing the Colorado Classic, DNA Professional Cycling Team includes a crew of four in addition to the six racers. Our soungier handles meals, daily massage, feed zones, setup and late-night brownie runs.
Our three team owners handle everything under the sun. They direct, work on bikes, coordinate logistics, take pictures, develop race strategy, drive in the caravan, post on social, and more.
This racing circus kicked off Stage 1 in Steamboat Springs, which is the reason I could not resist joining the road racing ranks after a four-year hiatus. I’m biased, but wow — Steamboat certainly represented in a way that only our community knows how to do.
The roar of the crowd sending us off to the start was deafening, with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes front and center. The punchy course weaved around the Yampa Valley, featuring some of the best cycling roads in the state along River Road, over Yellow Jacket Pass, through the town of Oak Creek, up the Corkscrew and along some of our incredible gravel roads past Big Valley Ranch.
After Stage 1, the team was down from six to five riders, and none of us were high enough on the GC rankings — general classification, lowest cumulative time over each stage of racing — to go for the overall win for the race. The team huddled together in a hotel room in Avon, over brownies, ice cream and Pedialyte, to devise a plan that would play to our strengths.
We decided every racer would animate the race with attacks during the circuits and try to create or get into a break. The plan worked and Heather rode with two others off the front for the final circuits, allowing the rest of us to sit comfortably in the peloton and not have to make any moves. This heroic effort earned Heather the VF Corporation Badass Rider jersey awarded for fearlessness, aggression and confidence.
The DNA Pro Cycling team continued with the plan of top-10 finishes in the final two stages in Golden and Denver, and Heather delivered on both. With average speeds of over 26 mph for 55- and 65-mile races respectively, it’s safe to say that the race was fast and aggressive.
Amy Charity is a Steamboat Springs cycling all-star and member of the DNA Pro Cycling Team.
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