SugarCRM Women's Cycling Team

SugarCRM Women's Cycling Team
Photos Copyright Garrett Lau

Mary Ellen Ash and Karla Kingsley in the mix at Superweek! ME 4th at Chicago Criterium!

Mary Ellen Ash and Karla Kingsley pictured with Blue Competition Cycles Rider, SugarCRM Guest and friend and Cycling Legend Laura Van Gilder.
Photos by Craig Kingsley

SugarCRM was superbly represented at the world famous Superweek International Criteriums in Wisconsin/ Illinois by Criterium specialists Mary Ellen Ash and Karla Kingsley, both who have raked in great results this year on the NCNCA and NRC circuit. With Mary Ellen having scored a brace of major podiums this year, and Karla winning the Oakland GP the past week and being a winner of a 2008 stage of Superweek, this formidable tag team was well suited for the 7 days of consecutive high speed criterium racing that lay ahead. And they did not dissapoint, animating the racing everyday in front of large crowds and against some of the bigger teams. In the final shakedown Mary Ellen was 18th on GC, Karla was fast enough for 16th for a double top 20 in the fastest Criterium series in the world.

Here is Mary Ellen's overview and report of her 4th place in the prestigous Chicago Criterium:

So superweek:

I came to event with a less than desirable level of fitness. Due to a few tweaked vertebrae and ribs, I was forced to take 6 full days off the bike only 2 weeks before the event! Even sitting on the bike was incredibly painful. Only after several chiropractic treatments was I able to get back on the bike. I was lucky to get healthy just in time to participate in two local criteriums. The suffering was great and it was a huge acheivement just to ride my bike. Those two races were all the intensity I would acquire in my legs leading up to Superweek '09.

The first race was a big disappointment. It contained in the infamous "Brewer's Hill." It didn't go very well as I was quickly spat out the rear of the peleton. Over the next few races, I gauged my efforts and tried not to over-exert myself. Karla and I had 5 consecutive races. Karla's goals were to be aggressive and try to initiate or follow a break. My goal was simply to finish strong and conserve energy. If I could help Karla get away or at least control the pack briefly, I was satisfied. After that, it was down to securing solid results - I wanted to be consistently in the top-10 whenever possible.

Happily, with each race I was able to get stronger and stronger. It was so nice to be able to animate the races again. Karla was super supportive and patient. Unfortunately, neither of us had any luck getting into the 'right' breakaway. It was tough b/c there were a couple of close calls. Ultimately, I am proud of what we accomplished and we did well together against the other teams.

Chicago Criterium:

This was a the 7th race on the list. Since last years race was won by a break, the goal was to get KArla into a breakaway. The back-up plan was to get a podium in the sprint finish. Gotta aim high.

I must say, we got really great weather. Sunny, a slight breeze and 80 degrees. We couldn't have asked for a better day to race. I'll admit my legs were a little lethargic on the start and they were fried a couple of times during the race when the peleton was in a single-line thanks to hard attacks from Team Kenda and Laura VG. There were a couple of solid breakaway attempts, but nothing was sticking. With ~5 laps to go, it was going to come down to a field sprint. Karla was excellent and protected me from the wind in the closing laps. In the end, even with the dicey riding, I was able to hold my position and came out of the final corner in ~6th position. Unfortunately, my legs didn't have enough juice for me to pass the top-3 ladies and I had to settle for 4th. I'm a little disappointed to finish off the podium, but considering who beat me to the line, I can't complain.