By Wendy Booher
Dotsie Bausch (Colavita/Sutter Home) and Ruth Clemence (Simple Green) outkicked the women’s pro field with two laps to go in the road race before battling each other in a power struggle all the way to the finish. The 20-women field stayed tightly packed for most of the race until a restless Clemence made a move, bringing Bausch with her.
“I tried to attack on a hill to break things up and we just stayed away,” Clemence said.
Bausch answered multiple attacks from Clemence and the two traded blows until the final kilometer: a climb up Barloy Canyon to the finish. After narrowly winning, Bausch told of an irony to road racing that sometimes, you’re best when you’re at your worst.
“I felt like crap the whole race,” Bausch said. “It was one of those days where if you feel really awful and you stand up, you can perform. Some days it can be a total sufferfest and you can win — that’s what it was today.”
Only three seconds separated Bausch and Clemence at the finish line, which contrasted sharply to the men’s race, which witnessed a one-two sweep by the UK-based Plowman-Craven team. Evan Oliphant arrived first trailed by teammate, Simon Richardson, who arrived 30 seconds later. The deciding moment came after eight laps of the race loop when both Oliphant and
Richardson tried to push away from a dangling field on the final climb.
“On the last lap I attacked,” Oliphant said. “I got caught and went again at the bottom of the [finishing] climb.”
Richardson admitted to a tough, hilly course, which featured punchy climbs and snaking descents. In addition to the course’s physical attributes, the race’s mental aspect possibly came into play for Richardson as well.
“Evan insisted his legs were worse than mine today,” Richardson said. “Evan attacked and whittled down the break on the last lap.”
In a race of attrition, 73 racers abandoned, which left 10 finishers bearing the team colors of Rock Racing, Z Team, and others.
Road racing continues Saturday with the NRC circuit race. Short Track, Dual Slalom, BMX and Dual Stunt round out the roster of events for Day 3 of the Sea Otter Classic.