The course forgave little in the 2014 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s time trial Monday on County Road 250.
Cool early temperatures made finding a rhythm difficult, and some in the small field struggled in a different discipline.
Durangoan Maria Santiago persevered, however, winning the A Women’s 19-34 category in 40 minutes, 46.08 seconds, capping a strong weekend in which she finished first in the women’s criterium Sunday and third in Saturday’s road race.
Race organizers didn’t sponsor an official omnium this year, but Santiago knew what she was riding for.
She had trouble feeling her legs with the temperatures during the 13.7-mile race, which affected her gear selection.
“Honestly, I couldn’t find a groove,” Santiago said. “I couldn’t find that sugar gear.”
Her performance was enough, though, to hold off two local young guns for the title: Kaylee Blevins, 19, took second in 41:48.73, while Emily Schaldach, 18, was third in 45:28.47.
Santiago was the first woman to leave, and she started at 8 a.m., neither of which were ideal conditions.
“Ideally, in a time trial, you want to go last and use the other competitors as rabbits to chase,” she said. “It was hard mentally. I didn’t know where I was in the field I was racing against.”
She was out in front, where she’s been most of the weekend.
Blevins and Schaldach typically compete on mountain bikes but decided to try the time trial after enjoying Saturday’s road race, then the cancellation of Sunday’s cross country mountain bike race.
Schaldach probably will stick to the dirt after Monday’s ride.
“Time trials just aren’t really that fun,” said Schaldach, daughter of Susan and Tim Schaldach. “This is the first one I’ve done, and it’s a suffer-fest.”
Though Santiago won’t receive any official omnium recognition, she still was able to enjoy a strong cycling weekend with her family and friends.
“It was so nice to have them all really close and supporting me,” she said. “Usually, when you’re racing away from home, you don’t get that.”