Olivia Ray continued her winning ways at Intelligentsia Cup on Thursday night, claiming the sprint victory in South Chicago. The result netted Ray a rare hat trick of victories thanks to her previous success at the Tour of Lake Ellyn and the Winfield Criterium earlier in the week.
“Honestly, I finally feel calm,” said Ray following the podium ceremony. “Returning to competitive races following my injury and being so hyped up on caffeine each race, it’s hard to be relaxed. But I’ve found a nice balance of chill and combativeness in the races that’s really setting me up nicely for the finales.”
The course was compared to a ‘Kermesse’ or a classic circuit, somewhere between a criterium and a road race.
“South Chicago was most like a road race out of all the events so I was pumped to race,” added Ray. “A less intense environment with a longer lap. It was easier to settle and become comfortable in the group.”
Ray has trusted teammate Madeline Bemis at her side and the duo have been working together increasingly well.
“Maddie is ripping the legs off of the field,” said Ray. “We’re both getting fit, speedy, and more comfortable riding with each other. She made sure I had shelter going into 500 meters to go, we ramped it up, and unleashed our sprints. It was perfectly executed.”
The Rally Cycling duo face the Elgin criterium on Friday night before driving down to Minneapolis, MN to support the 10th Annual UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Century Ride.
“Seeing people that are so connected with the team is going to be wonderful,” said Ray. “The pandemic made things tricky with traveling to training camps and racing so I’m very excited to meet the rest of the team. It’ll be a really lovely weekend with a great dinner and enjoyable century ride supporting a great cause!”
— Tom Soladay to rallycycling.com