Walling wins (mostly) friendly duel in Tour

Tour of the Valley

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Three day Bike race rolls into the valley

Vindicator staff report

COLUMBIANA — Emily Walling of Dayton won the Women’s 1-3 category Saturday morning after a mostly friendly duel with Sally Price of Cuyahoga Falls during the road race portion of the Tour of the Valley bicycle event.

They finished about 50 yards apart on South Broad St., about a half-block from the Village circle.

“After she [Price] took the queen of the mountain, we broke away and worked together and finished up together,” Walling said of the majority of the 33-mile race that started and ended in the heart of Columbiana.

Walling and Price were side by side until the last kilometer.

“Then we weren’t friends anymore,” Walling joked of the closing stretch that put the Team Dayton rider in the lead.

“It was a real fun race, but hard work,” Walling said of the road race victory that was her fifth of the cycling season.

She was mostly satisfied with the course’s terrain and route that included passes through New Waterford and Negley.

“This many hills is perfect, but I wouldn’t want any more,” said Walling.

The “queen of the mountain” is a designation for a climb starting at the 22-mile mark. It’s the only place where Price had the edge.

“We worked together the whole race until the last overpass at the one kilometer mark,” the 26-year-old Walling said of herself and Price, a competitor who is a member of Team SummaCare of Akron.

Walling’s others teammates during the Women’s 1-3 were Erika Howard and Terra Kier.

“They give points for the climb, Price said of her reward during the queen of the mountain phase.

“I took it [the climb] and we [Price and Walling] were both kind of headed back and worked together until the very last part.”

The riders took turns leading during the rest of the race.

Did they converse during that period?

“Yeah, a little bit, but not much,” the 38-year-old Price said.

After the “queen” climb, the pair decided that the finish would be win-win.

“Because we were apart from everyone else and our numbers [2 women] are smaller, if we stay away, we have the best chance to at least get 1 and 2.

“We wanted to pace ourselves the best we can for the finish because we knew we could take care of No. 1 and No. 2 if we worked together and stay away. At worst, one of us would have been second place.”

A railroad crossing didn’t present a problem.

“Thank goodness, we were safe from the tracks,” Price said of crossing the tracks twice. “The crossings weren’t far from each other. Elsewhere, they did a great job controlling traffic for us.”

Walling said she was eager to support the Tour of the Valley because Team Dayton sometimes races with Carbon Racing, the event organizer.

“We don’t have this kind of racing this close to home, so it’s a great thing.”

Eighteen riders took part in the race that included Women 1-3 and Women 4.

SummaCare’s Jane Evely was the yellow jersey holder before Saturday’s race.

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