Not content to wait for more hospitable weather, Bellum’s new ladies, Leah Sanda and Katie Isermann, hit the early season criterium races with a vengeance. March 20th, Leah and Katie opened the season on a cold, windy and wet day in Joliet for the category 3/4 race. Only 9 ladies braved the weather to start the race. After a couple crashes, Leah managed to get away in a 2 person break while Katie defended from the field. Leah won with Katie coming in 4th.
Katie proceeded to race the next 5 nights at the Gapers Block criteriums. She finished the series with three 2nd’s, a 3rd and a win among the category 4’s, including winning the overall points for the series. Leah joined her on Wednesday and Thursday night to practice some team work. Leah won the Wednesday race after a hard night spent chasing down relentless attacks and giving Katie a rest. Thursday night saw Katie almost stay away in a two person break while Leah defended from the field but the field closed it down just before the finish. After a long week of racing and a bunch of tired ladies, Friday’s race came down to a field sprint which Katie won. Congratulations!
On Saturday March 26th, in weather more suitable to cyclocross racing with temps in the 20’s and blowing flurries, Katie won the category 4 Illinois Cup opener in South Beloit. That was on her 7th day of racing!! Then Leah, joined by new teammate Sue Semaszczuk, raced in the series new stand-alone category 3 women’s race. It was a frustrating day with no other teams in the field thus nobody wanted to be in the wind. There were a few attacks but nothing that got away in the stiff wind. Leah, who has won this race the last 3 years, won again from a field sprint.
Next up, Hillsboro Roubaix!