Joanne Kiesanowski of Team TIBCO/To the Top took her first NRC victory of the season last Saturday at the Grand Cycling Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “It was a good race, and good to get my first NRC win of the year,” she said.
In a repeat of her Sea Otter Circuit Race victory of 2009, Kiesanowski was off the front late in the race with fellow New Zealander Cath Cheatley (Colavita-Baci). She put herself in that situation with an attack with about 3.5 laps of the technical 1.2 km course to go, which Cheatley, the current leader in the individual NRC standings, covered.
“We were in a break with Brooke (Miller) and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) just off the front of the bunch,” Kiesanowski said. “It seemed like a good time to attack, because even if I got caught, we still had Brook and Sam (Schneider) in the bunch for the sprint, with Meredith (Miller) for the lead-out.”
The move also put the onus for the chase onto other teams, but with not enough organization behind, the two Kiwis were able to open a gap and hold it to the line.
“It was a good situation to be in,” Kiesanowski said. “Cath had been strong all race, and it was good to be away with someone who was going well. It also helped that I know Cath’s strengths, and that I’m pretty confident I can out-sprint her as well.”
And as she did at Sea Otter last year, Kiesanowski bested her countrywoman in the two-up sprint. The win came at the end of another typical attacking day for Team TIBCO. “We were aggressive right from the gun,” she said. “Brooke attacked straight away from the start. I was off in a move with Laura, and Meredith was away a few times as well. Someone was always attacking. It was a good, fast, hard race.”
She also noted that it was an overall good race. “The sponsors and the organizers were really awesome,” she said. “I hope the race continues to get support and grow. I won a new Herman Miller office chair, along with a really nice brick on a plaque for the victory.”
The brick is a nod to the sections of cobbles included on the course. She also learned that the TSA frowns on trying to bring bricks on board flights as carry-on luggage. “The people at the airport were great,” she said. “They got a box and packaged it up and put it on the plane. It’s a nice trophy. I’m glad I got to keep it.”