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CEDAR CITY, Utah (VN) — Whitney Allison battled the heat, the dust, and her inner demons at Saturday’s Belgian Waffle Ride Utah — and she came out on top.
Allison won the elite women’s race on the 135-mile “Waffle” course, powering away from Heidi Franz (Rally Cycling) and Lindsay Goldman to score the first major gravel victory of her career.
“I said I really wanted to get a win this year, and I did win a couple early races but I would say this is the biggest win,” Allison told VeloNews. “So I guess I got my goal right for my last race of the year.”
The victory wasn’t easy. Allison powered into the front group of elite woman alongside Goldman, Franz, and a handful of other riders after the opening climb at mile 25. Franz eventually punctured and lost touch with the group, allowing Allison and Goldman to speed up the road. But before the race even hit the midpoint Allison dropped Goldman and embarked on a long and punishing solo effort into the desert.
For hours she pushed along by herself, linking up with groups of men, and then riding off on her own. Throughout the effort Allison said she battled her body and mind.
“I ended up alone for a very long time, catching men from time to time, but also crying a lot to myself because it was very long — 70 miles or so,” she said. “I tried to turn the brain off, because if you actually hear what your brain is trying to tell you, you’d be like ‘why am I doing this?'”
Allison then faced the punishing section of technical singletrack inside the final 10 miles. She made it through the trail without any technical problems, and then descended to take the win. Allison slumped on the grass at finish line in Cedar City pouring water over her head. When Goldman finished, several minutes later, she got up and gave her a hug.
Allison and Goldman were former teammates on the Hagens Berman-Supermint pro road team in 2019.
Goldman said that Allison’s power was simply too much — Allison, she said, was by far the strongest rider of the day.
“She literally rode me off her wheel — she was a beast today and earned the win,” Goldman said. “She rode me off of her wheel after pulling me for 15 miles.”
Like Allison, Goldman spent much of the day riding by herself and in small groups of men. But then, in the technical singletrack, she was caught by Franz. The two battled back and forth until Goldman was able to get away to finish second.
“I thought I was going to die, and then it was like ‘aaaagh,'” Goldman said. “People told me I had a gap, and from then I rode to the finish as hard as I could and it felt like 100 miles. My whole body hurts.”
Allison has steadily scored top results at gravel races this season — she won Co2uT Desert Gravel, was fourth place at Unbound Gravel and then fifth at SBT GRVL.
Belgian Waffle Ride Utah
|1st||2116||Whitney Allison||Bike Sports||7h 02m 00.47s|
|2nd||2114||Lindsay Goldman||Factor Eliel Honey Stinger||7h 09m 28.51s|
|3rd||2113||Heidi Franz||Rally Cycling||7h 10m 56.37s|
|4th||2112||Helena Gilbert-Snyder||English Endurance||7h 13m 51.53s|
|5th||2127||Lindsey Stevenson||ABUS Pro Gravel||7h 16m 57.72s|
|6th||2108||Holly Breck||Rally Cycling||7h 19m 54.13s|
|7th||2105||Melisa Rollins||TWENTY24||7h 25m 36.47s|
|8th||2110||Sarah Jarvis||Cedar Cycle||7h 28m 56.19s|
|9th||2151||Anne Donley||Hylands Wingman Smart Energy||7h 28m 57.99s|
|10th||2115||Nikki Peterson||KS Kenda Women’s Elite MTB||7h 32m 55.86s|