Race Report by Maria.

The Florida State Road Race Championship serves as the culmination of a 9-month season and hours of hard training and countless race weekends. This year, the championship course was in Dade City: the same course DelaFina racers had faced back in January, where the season had begun. The punchy hills make the 13-mile loop challenging and the notorious uphill finish can throw a curve ball in any race.

The race weekend kicked off with age group races on Saturday. The women’s field consisted of all of the categories, from the most experienced riders who have years of experience to new faces who are trying their hand at racing for the first time. The pace started off fast and snappy; with such a large field and a diverse group of riders, handling was key. Antje kept a strong position toward the front of the pack, while Magda, Rebekah and Maria tucked into the group. Attacks were made, but nothing stayed away, and hill after hill, the pack shrank until only Antje remained along with a few other strong women who had dug deep on the steep climbs. Approaching the final turn, Antje tried to outwit the sprinters by going early in the sprint. Finishing 4th overall, she landed on the top podium spot for her age category.

Maria and Magda in the pack

Maria and Magda in the pack

 

Day two of the state championship consisted of category races, and unlike Saturday’s 3 lap 39-mile race, it added an additional lap, making the race total to 52 miles of rolling Florida hills. Maria and Antje lined up at staging to represent DelaFina for the category race. Once the riders clipped in, it was clear that this race would be a test of endurance and strategy. In the course of one lap, the field had split into several fragments. A handful of riders had been shelled off the back from the two consecutive hills on the far side of the course and the strong women had made their defining move. The front pack consisted of four robust riders, Antje among them. Adding minutes on the gap each lap, the breakaway drilled up the steep climbs and tucked tightly down the sharp descents, shedding one of the four riders on the third lap. Approaching the finish, Antje tried to get rid of the sprinter – but no luck. Antje and Madison were approaching the line, with a third trailing just a few seconds behind. After the dust settled, Antje took 2nd overall, powering through one of the toughest races of the season.

Antje in the break

Antje in the break

Second is first loser, right?

Second is first loser, right?

 

A remarkable season with a slew of outstanding performances throughout the year, the ladies of DelaFina Racing proudly conclude the 2016 Florida racing series on a high note. We are sincerely appreciative of all of our sponsors who have made this journey possible and we look forward to laying down some serious base miles for 2017. But first, off season (Antje’s note: Wait, there’s that crit in Tampa on Halloween weekend).

Photo credit: Wizard Racing Team