By John Bohnenkamp
Rylee McMullen had a lonely ride in Saturday’s Women’s 1-2-3 Pro race at the Snake Alley Criterium.
She didn’t seem to mind.
McMullen dominated the race, leading by a full straightaway for most of the final laps, to take her second win of the weekend.
It might have seemed like an hour-long race would be about patience, but McMullen had other ideas.
“It was a little bit different than what I’m used to,” McMullen said. “Usually I just wait for the sprint, but I really wanted to win today.”
McMullen, who won the Friday Night Fever race to open the weekend, struck early in this race and quickly extended the margin.
“There was a big gap at the top of one of the early climbs, so the next lap I just went to the top again and took off,” McMullen said.
McMullen, who races for the InstaFund Racing team, duplicated the move teammate Maddy Ward used to win last year’s race.
“Last year, my teammate did what I did today,” McMullen said. “I wanted to make today hard.”
McMullen said she didn’t mind being alone.
“I just set a nice pace,” she said. “It’s kind of nice being by yourself because you can set your own pace and not have to surge or anything.”
Elizabeth Dixon, who finished second behind McMullen on Friday, finished second again, leading the large pack that couldn’t mount a challenge.
“To be honest, I started out the first couple of laps pretty far back, so I was just trying to make up space, pass people one at a time,” Dixon said. “I didn’t realize until the last lap that I had been closing the gap. Rylee, I could kind of see her on the last lap. I knew I couldn’t catch her, but it would have been nice to try. It’s nice to have that goal, like, ‘Oh, I can catch one more person.’”
Dixon was making her first appearance in the Criterium. She worked with Dahlia Kissel, who finished third, early in the race.
“She taught me how to take downhill corners, which was nice,” Dixon said. “I live in Chicago, so we don’t have many opportunities to go downhill. So I learned how to stay low. I also want to brake going downhill, which is something you don’t want to do in a race. It was helpful to follow some wheels, and get some pointers, because it’s not a strong suit of mine.”
Dixon also learned how to attack Snake Alley.
“I pre-rode it once before the race,” she said. “I knew it was steep, but it was more technical than I was expecting. Because it’s so steep, you do have to put in an effort to get up it. I actually tried to stay calm on the climb, and then push it after that, because people are tired. So that helped.”
Amy McClintock finished fourth. Jane Tullis, third on Friday night, finished fifth in this race.
Olivia Reeve won the Category 3-4 race. Camille Wirkus was second