The rain held off on Saturday, May 4 for the first Saugerties event in the Women’s Woodstock Grand Prix bicycle race. Not so much on Sunday, for the Woodstock run.
The Grand Prix was the seventh annual race, a grueling 62-mile event for seasoned cyclists, with a shorter, 34-mile loop for less seasoned cyclists.
Saturday started with a six-mile run through Phoenicia, followed the Saugerties Circuit Race, a eleven-lap run over a 2.2-mile course, with an eight-lap alternative for less experience riders.
Race director Martin Ernst Bruhn has been a competitive cyclist, and in addition to his own racing career, which includes being long-listed for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, has organized a number of cycling clubs and events.
Elin Larsen, a former member of the U.S. national team, greeted the riders on Saturday. “I love this course, it is fast and challenging,” she said. The overcast day, cool and without direct sunshine, was beautiful for cycling, she said. The weather for the 62-mile main event was less ideal, with rain on and off for most of the day.
The Woodstock course, which includes some of the most spectacular scenery in the area, along with challenging hills, includes parts of Saugerties and Phoenicia as well as Woodstock itself. On Sunday there was on and off through the event. The event started and wound up at the Woodstock Community Center on Rock City Road. The 62-mile course included hairpin turns and several very steep climbs. Saugerties also offered a very sharp curve from Market Street onto Beers Lane.
Some of the riders choose one or two events, but most sign up for all three, Bruhn said. In events that feature both men and women, men often receive most of the attention. This women-only event maintins a different emphasis. A description on the organization’s website notes that Bruhn’s vision is “to highlight the need for parity in the male dominated sport of competitive cycling.”
Melissa Teeple, who finished fifth overall and in the top three in Saugerties, praised the beauty of the course. “Everyone was very enthusiastic,” she said.
Emma Edwards, second-place finisher in Saugerties, said she believes the Women’s Woodstock Grand Prix is the only sanctioned race for women in the Northeast. “It was a great race, very exhilarating,” she said.
According to the posted results, the top finishers in the 62-mile main event were Britt Mason, Clio Dinan and Emma Edwards, followed by Taylor Kuik-White and Melissa Teeple. The time listed for the first four finishers was the same for all: 3 hours, 14 minutes and 36 seconds. Fifth- and sixth-place finishers, Teeple and Samantha Fox were listed at 3:15:15.
Nancy Ford, riding in the over-55 category, placed first, with a time of 3:36:45, which compared well with most of the younger riders.
The road race has expanded, both in overall distance and in the number of events since it started in 2013 with a single road race around a 34-mile course.