Words by Gabrielle Lehnert
BAKER CITY — The Baker City Cycling Classic is a 3 day race with 5 stages in Baker City, Oregon. Today I raced a 40 mile road race and a 1 mile uphill time trial. I got up at 7:30, ate breakfast, and got ready for the road race. My dad and I drove to the start of the road race where I did packet pickup.
This weekend I am guest riding with Athlete’s Lounge so I met up with my teammates and we did a light warmup together. The plan for the race was pretty simple. Stay towards the head of the race and be at the front of any splits in the field. The first couple of miles of the race were neutral but even after the race officially started the pace stayed really low. After a while we made a turn which turned the strong headwind into a cross wind. At that point we started going much faster and 10-15 riders were dropped. Soon after that came the first QOM climb of the day. I rode with the front few riders the whole way up and by the time we reached the top there were about 6 people left in the front group. Another group of about 6 caught up to us in the descent and that was the group that stayed together pretty much until the end.
The second QOM climb was longer and we kept a steady pace up it the whole time. By the time we reached the top I was about to get dropped from the front few people but thankfully the descent came just in time. The finish was shortly after the descent and it came down to a 10ish person sprint. I (very unsuccessfully) tried to lead out my teammate and ended up 4th overall and 2nd in the cat. 3s. I am very happy with that result and I’m sure the GC will change a lot with so much racing to come.
After the road race I drove the uphill time trial course with my dad, ate, and rested for 6 hours. Then I went to the course where I did a short intense warmup and raced. I’ve never done such a short time trial before and by the end my legs felt like absolute jelly. No news on results yet but I raced the best that I could so I can be happy with whatever place I get [she got 1st in cat. 3 and 4th overall woman]. Now I will go to bed and be up bright and early for a flat time trial.
I’ve been coaching Gabrielle since the Fall of 2015. She has shown both a great physical talent and a great attitude throughout the process. Throughout the spring she worked tirelessly toward her goals: she had success at Sea Otter in Monterey, she finished Eugene’s Thursday Nighter ride with the front group, she swept every race at the High Desert Omnium, and she has been getting faster and faster on her TT bike. We decided that traveling to Kentucky for National Championships would be more trouble than its worth when quality racing like Baker City and the Rapha Northwest Junior Stage Race are right here in her backyard and the upcoming CX season will require a lot of traveling.
Baker City is an exciting race for me because it’s Gabrielle’s first stage race with this many races and the final day will be her first test in a long climbing road race against top regional riders. The mixed women’s field means that in most cases she’ll be starting and finishing amongst Cat 1/2 etc., so it’s a great chance for us to see how she stacks up.
As noted above, she won the cat. 3 women’s uphill TT and now leads GC by 28 seconds. See full results at: http://obra.org/m/events/24425/results