The women at West Branch were in for a very difficult day. With a low turn out and terrible conditions, the Pro 1/2 field combined with the CAT 3s for a 44  mile jaunt through the West Branchian countryside. It made all the difference and changed the race for everyone.

A large factor in the decision to race the 44 mile distance was the composition of the 1/2 field. It was 3/5th Einstein Racing, lead by Mackenzie Woodring and her wing-women Amanda Ryan and Johanna Schmidt. Good sports that they are, Einstein accepted the race officials invitation to run the same distance and start with the 3s and 4s.

But therein lies a quandary; how to score a race with three classes all racing at the same time, but with absolutely no reason to chase women from other categories? Woodring won the 1/2 race, but Hagerty Cycling’s Bridgitt Widrig won the 3s almost ten minutes ahead of Woodring, but with neither having any reason to worry about one another. What is the best way to make sure it’s fair, balanced and honest? How can kolo t.c. get bribes for the overall victory?

After a sleepless night with much tossing, turning and sleeping, the answer was obvious: chop the points and split it. West Branch, a 1.0 race, will be reduced from 20 points to 15 to the winner, but with 1-5 in both the 1/2 and 3 categories getting points fitting to their place.

15 1 501.93 bridgett widrig Interlochen, MI 2:11:38.70 306302 280 Hagerty Racing
14 2 523.90 Kristen Jukowski Pontiac, MI 2:16:27.16 356911 278
13 3 545.88 Chelsea Clark Grand Rapids, MI 2:16:39.74 309613 281 Team Priority Health
 12 4 567.86 Lisa Carr 2:17:10.02 381291 275 TDI TEAM ZUCK
11 5 589.83 Melissa Ryba Traverse City, MI 2:26:15.22 342048 276 Hagerty Racing
15 1 414.26 Mackenzie Woodring (1 – Cat1) Belmont, MI 2:20:48.19 211079 601 Einstein Racing
14 2 451.25 Amanda Ryan (1 – Cat2) Wixom, MI 2:23:57.36 286220 602 Einstein Racing
13 3 Julie Marceau 2:28:22.38 613 Lap Dogs
12 4 525.22 Johanna Schmidt (2 – Cat2) Traverse City, MI 2:28:24.69 236546 604 Einstein Racing
11 5 562.20 Alicia Trevino (3 – Cat2) Saginaw, MI 2:28:39.06 278555 603 Fusion / LIVESTRONG/Fusion Cycl

The 3s were piloted home by Kristen Jukowski, just ten seconds ahead of PriorityHealth wunderkind Chelsea Clark. Lisa Carr took fourth ahead of Hagerty Cycling’s Melissa Ryba, making her first CAT 3 start. Einstein outsmarted the competition (think about it) by sending Woodring up the road, and Big Mac built up a healthy three minute lead. Amanda Ryan pipped in for second but the CAT 2 win, while Julie Marceau politely merci’ed in third on the road and second in CAT 2. The cycling celebrity herself, Johanna Schmidt, took a happy third  on the road and 2nd in CAT 2, with the indomitable Alicia Trevino of Fusion Cycling ushered everyone home safely.

Here’s the new-look Top 26 with Mt. Pleasant just  a few days away:

Julie Whalen at 38 points
Johanna Schmidt at 32 points
Bridgett Widrig at 32 points
Amy Stauffer at 20 points
Samantha Brode at 19 points
Susan Vigland at 19 points
Kathy Everts at 18 points
Stephanie Swan at 17 points
Amelia Moore at 16 points
Laura Webb at 16 points
Mackenzie Woodring at 15
Kim Chapman at 15 points
Rachel Decker at 15 points
Amanda Ryan at 14 points
Wendy Zamzow at 14 points
Ali Bridson at 14 points
Kristen Jukowski at 14 points
Chelsea Clark at 13 points
Julie Marceau at 12 points
Molly Wolf at 12 points
Marilyn Kamp at 12 points
Jill Meredith at 11 points
Bridget Donovan at 11

Julie Whalen’s amazing, Tom Boonen-like domination of the spring races keeps her in the top slot overall but the gap is down to just 8 points, with not one but TWO racers that will make starts in nearly every race in the Banana Competition for the rest of the year. Johanna Schmidt and Bridgit Widrig are both expected to threaten at Mount Pleasant this Sunday, though who can stay fresh over the weekend will play a big part in their finishing sprint. Schmidt also has the team card to play with Woodring creeping up the standings, while Widrig will be joined by fellow Top 25er Susan Vigland, who skipped the road race at West Branch Saturday to try her hand at the Criterium.

The Banana Competition will be back next week with more updated rankings and a preview of the races left on the schedule. Bananas!