Congratulations to Sofi Marin for making several podiums this month! From the Foothill College Circuit Race to the Colavita Gran Prix to the Berkeley Bike Club Criterium, she is on fire! Great job!
Congratulations to Sofi Marin for making several podiums this month! From the Foothill College Circuit Race to the Colavita Gran Prix to the Berkeley Bike Club Criterium, she is on fire! Great job!
Lodi was a race I’d wanted to win since the season started. It’s a fun, technical downtown crit with great spectators and a lively atmosphere. After winning the field sprint last year, I wanted to take the race win on Sunday.
Due to Cascade and the Boise crit, the field at Lodi was a bit reduced. This meant we really had to control the race, which we did. We were represented in every move that went off the front and one of our girls marked every chase effort. Due to the fact that every big team — Folsom, Metromint, Velosports — had a sprinter in attendance, no breaks got much traction until Kristen Fauria got away with Amanda Siegle (Metromint) for about 4 or 5 laps. The two reaped the rewards of several primes as they stayed off the front, and we forced Velosports, Emily Kachorek (Vanderkitten), and Martina Patella (Mike’s Bikes) to chase.
With about 4 laps to go, Metromint went to the front and kept the pace moderately high. Dani and I stayed in the top 5 of 6, and we benefited from the fact that Metromint had started their leadout so early. With half a lap to go, there were no Metromint girls left, and it was Dani sitting first wheel with me in second position. Perfection! At the end of the last straightaway (with two corners left in the race), Mary Ellen Ash (Metromint) and Martina jumped, and I jumped hard to stay on their wheels for the last two corners. After we rounded the last corner, I started my sprint, felt great, and came around both of them a few feet before the line. After the superb leadout, Dani still managed to come in 5th! So much fun.
The Fourth of July weekend came with two big races for Folsom Bike/Cervelo — a downtown crit in Davis on Friday and a 73 mile road race in the middle of nowhere on Saturday. If you had told me I was going to win one of those, I would’ve assumed the victory would come in the crit. But a win is a win, and I ended up with the W on Saturday at the Leesville road race thanks to stellar teamwork from the Folsom girls.
Saturday’s race was an out and back. We had about 20 miles of flat riding followed by some rollers and then a 15 minute climb. From the climb to the turn around was mostly flat with the only excitement being some rough pavement.
Girls in the peloton were pretty chill for the flat ride out to the hill, as no one wanted to attack with 65 miles left to race. The rollers saw racers getting fiesty, with a couple of attacks and field splits, but nothing definitive happened until the big climb. Susannah and Diane set a brutal pace going up that beast, and I was content to let a gap form to them with three other girls. I rode at my own tempo, staying within striking distance to that group. When I started to fade with maybe one kilometer left in the climb, Marley and Heather Van Sickle came to my rescue, towing me to the top. After the summit, we worked together and quickly closed the gap to the front group.
Now the lead group contained all the Folsom girls (me, Marley, Susannah, Diane, and Heather Van Sickle) plus only three other racers. Pretty sweet! Diane attacked and was solo for several miles to the turn around, forcing Leah Thomas from Metromint to do all the chasing. Unfortunately, Diane flatted shortly after our group caught her. With no wheel support, we were down to four Folsom girls. There was a bit of a truce in our group until the short climb leading back over the pass. Leah set a hard pace, with only Erica Grief (Velosports) and I able to hold her wheel. Like a champ, Heather caught back up to us after the descent, and told me to sit on while she worked and pulled through.
Heather totally saved me those last twenty miles, setting me up perfectly. When Leah attacked with four miles to go, I jumped with Erica and it was down to three of us. Knowing that Heather was back there, I could again sit on while Erica and Leah pulled. Like a beast, Leah went on to attack and drop Erica, but I was fresh and just sat on her wheel. Leah pulled impressively strongly for the last two miles to keep Erica away. I refrained from pulling through, knowing I could beat both girls in a sprint. With 1 kilometer to go, Leah eased up and the two of us rode side by side. She attacked with 500 or 600 meters to go, and I had to jump hard to keep her wheel. But knowing all the work every Folsom girl had done earlier in the race, I wasn’t about to let that win slip away. Shortly after 200 meters to go, I sprinted with everything I had for the win.
This past weekend’s Sierra Historic Omnium was a delightful combination of new and old. Sunday featured a regional classic, the Nevada City Crit, which for the first time was turned into the second race of a two day omnium. Saturday the peloton faced a flat, semi-technical crit in Folsom. Both days were very satisfying races — the sort of competition where you finish and think, “That was tough — I did well, but can do better next time.”
On Saturday I went out with Diane and Dani to the Folsom crit. With a roundabout at one end of the course and a 180 degree turn at the other end, most of the race was on a windy, narrow straight away. The pace was high, as Twenty16 repeatedly tried launching solo moves. Dani and Diane did a fantastic job of covering moves and initiating attacks. Unfortunately, the move that stuck — with Alison Tetrick and a Pactimo girl — occurred when all of us had horrible position. That’s life in bike racing — if you’re not attentive 100 percent of the time, you risk missing out on the right moves. Diane tried valiantly to bridge up to the two but it wasn’t to be. We were left to fight for the field sprint, in which I only managed to come in 2nd after some crazy jostling on the last straightaway.
Sunday’s Nevada City Crit lived up to its wonderful hype. With a huge downtown crowd, crazy climb and bombing descent, the race was everything I could hope for from a criterium. I knew positioning would be key at the first lap, so I got a good place on start line and came into the first corner in 2nd wheel. Dani had advised me before the race to stay conservative — this was a race of attrition. So I just kept following wheels and riding near, but not at, the front. Even so, I was at the limit. So when Katie Hall (UHC) attacked on the climb 4 or 5 laps in, I knew it would be dumb to try and follow. I would probably just have blown up. So I stayed glued to Robin Farina’s wheel and concentrating on limiting the losses. Kathryn Donovan (Twenty16) followed Katie, and I knew at that point the move would stick, despite Robin’s best efforts. Eventually, I was able to look around and realize that our “chase group” had been whittled down to Robin, me, Diane, and Alison Tetrick. “Sweet,” I thought. “I’m going to get 2nd or 3rd on the omnium.” I was feeling capable of beating Alison to the line but wasn’t sure about whether I could get around Robin at the finish. Unfortuantely, at about this time in the race a significant crash occured with some of the other riders. The entire field was neutralized for 5 – 10 minutes, and when we restarted my legs felt horrific. Obviously everyone else was in the same boat, so this is no excuse for the fact that Diane and I came in 3rd and 4th out of our chase group (for 5th and 6th overall in the race).
I managed to take 3rd overall in the omnium for the weekend, which was nice given the level of competition we faced both days. And even better, these two days reminded me why I love racing in NorCal. The caliber of racers here is so impressive that there’s no room for making mistakes. I finished up the weekend thinking, “I can’t wait to go out and do this again — with better results — next Saturday.”
The Folsom ladies had been looking forward to the Pescadero weekend for a while. Not only is the course hard, beautiful, technical, and fun, but Dani Haulman lives at the base of the finishing climb. It felt like a privilege to get to wake up at a reasonable time and spin to the start.
Judy, Heather Van Sickle, Dani, Marley, and myself came out to race along with about 20 other girls. Racing started almost as soon as the neutral rollout finished. Dani led Judy out for the first sprint point, which she handily took. ICE, which had a strong representation of girls, instigated the race attacks once the peloton arrived on 84. However, nothing ever stayed away for very long.
The first time up Haskin’s Hill saw an attack by Alison Tetrick (Twenty16) diminish the numbers of the group. At the bottom of the descent, a group of about 7 were together with Alison notably absent. Felicia Gomez (ICE) suggested we all work together to make it stick. However, we were chased down just before reaching Pescadero, and ICE launched another attack that Judy followed. The two rode off the front for a while and allowed Judy to get the second sprint prime before being brought back.
Things stayed pretty calm until the second time up Haskin’s climb. Tetrick again attacked about half way up the climb and only few ladies went over the top together. The descent proved even more selective and at the bottom it was just Felicia, Leah Thomas (Metromint), and myself. And again I found myself working in a break. Our gap never grew beyond 30 seconds, and Alison was able to bring us back along with 4 other ladies including Marley.
The group of 8 made it back to 84 intact and Marley and I started to talk about finishing strategy. She was going to stay back and block, while I would attack and likely take 2-3 girls with me to the finishing climb. When I did attack, Alison, Leah and Felicia followed. Alison got to the front to drive us along and soon enough Joannah Dahl (Metromint) bridged up. The work of Alison and Joannah brought us to the base of the finishing climb.
Almost as soon as we turned onto the climb Alison attacked, I tried to respond but was never able to make contact. I just kept riding as hard as I could in second place. At some point I looked back and was surprised to see Marley coming up behind. I shouldn’t have been surprised at how she was able to overcome the gap and several ladies all on the finishing climb, but I was impressed nonetheless.
Folsom finished second and third for the day after a long, hard race!
Loomis Circuit race was going to be another hot race but luckily not as hot as last year! Four Folsom Bike Ladies lined up with a small group of category 1/2 racers at 2:40 in the afternoon. We decided that since it was a small field we would be aggressive and attack right from the start.
Marley Smith made the first move right from the gun. Marley had done this race last year and knew how to make it hard! Audrey, fromSport Velo, jumped with her when Marley attacked. Going into the second lap up the first roller Heather Van Sickle noticed Marley had again attacked and Audrey was getting reabsorbed by the main field. Van Sickle jumped to bridge to Smith. Heather Lipana also jumped. Van Sickle and Smith stayed away for the remainder of the race. Lipana stayed relatively close to the two off the front and was never caught by any other racers.
Since Smith and Van Sickle were together they chatted about who would win. Both had not taken a top step on the podium this year. Smith attacked Van Sickle on last roller leading to the climb knowing that would entice her to sprint. Smith stood up and yelled at Van Sickle to sprint her and so she did! Heather Van Sickle took the win, Marley Smith 2nd and Heather Lipana 3rd. Podium sweep for Folsom Bike!
Even though it was a small race we took advantage of the heat and the course. Both are and were unforgiving that day!
The bottom line from this race – plans often don’t work, but sometimes the result is amazing! Before the race we had an outline of how we should approach the race keeping in mind that the temperature was very high. Basically we were not supposed to get too excited too soon so we wouldn’t die in the heat.
Well, I think it took 2.5 laps before our impatience got the best of us – Marley attacked and got away solo. Everyone knows Marley is most dangerous when she is on her own, so the peloton was motivated to chase her down. After a couple of laps chasing Marley, girls got close to her. I followed the chasing wheels, and when they were close I counter attacked and got away. Soon enough Heather Van Sickle joined me, and we dug deep and worked together to stay away.
After several laps Heather Lipana had bridged up to us and motivated by her work, Shannon from Red Peloton was there too. Thank goodness for those two, the heat was certainly getting to us and it was very nice to have more riders to share the work with. Back in the field, Claire was riding consistently at third wheel to keep the group in control while Marley went on to solo in fifth place between us and the group.
The four of us in the break worked together until we had to start to think of the finish. Given the composition of our break (3 Folsom/Cervelo, 1 Red Peloton), and a safe advantage over the field, I knew my best move would be to attack and have Shannon chase me so the Heathers could sprint. Shannon chased me down when I tried this with 3 laps to go, and 2 laps to go, but finally at 1 lap to go I got away to the finish. Sure enough, the Heathers sprinted for 2nd and 3rd..
The final result was Folsom/Cervelo in 1,2,3,5, and 10th place, way better than we could have planned!
After a couple great road races with the team it was time for another triathlon. This time, I headed to Auburn, CA for a challenging half distance course with lots of climbing on the bike route and a trail run. In the weeks leading up to this one I may have looked at the training plan and thought…ohhhh….that looks pretty hard?!?! But then it’s over with and it wasn’t that hard and race day arrives.
After my first half distance event, I needed to establish some additional guidelines to help keep me focused. Rule #1, no talking during the swim. Rule #2, eat real food on the bike. Rule #3, run faster then you think is even possible and see what happens.
Rule #1 seems pretty obvious, but anyways I needed to make this one a priority. I made sure to contain all my random conversations with strangers in wetsuits to the pre-race warm up and was ready to just swim when we started. I made my way from buoy to buoy and was indeed faster then the first attempt, so I will call the swim a success.
Rule #2 may seem obvious as well. However, it’s really not that much fun to stuff your face while you are on a bike in areo extensions. The course started us off with a good climb out of the swim venue at Rattlesnake bar. I took the opportunity to eat and settle in before getting out along the HWY80 frontage roads. After about an hour, it was time for a snack! And I was feeling pretty good having passed a fair amount of people. I made my way around the “Bear River Loop” and then returned along the same frontage roads. Had another snack, passed some more people, and as I closed in on the last ten miles decide I should just another bar. I mean, why not….wasn’t gonna eat it on the run and it was in my pocket.
Rule #3 may not always apply but because it was a trail run it wasn’t going to be as easy to get in a good rhythm. The run course was absolutely beautiful and included some good hills, single track, fire roads, paved roads, and the canal trail. At the first aid station the volunteers were so excited to see another girl and tell me I was in second place. So, then I was pretty excited too! There was plenty of men running between us, as I saw her a couple times on the out and back sections of the course. I just ran as fast as possible on the flat and smooth trails and kept it going on the rocky single track and steep hills. I started to pass a lot of guys and I finally could see a woman in front of me. I worked my way up to her in the final mile and passed her, but could still hear her keeping the pace behind me. A sprint for the finish is not something I wanted to do, so on the final little hill, I went as hard as possible and kept it up until I finished.
She came in soon after me. And we both high-fived each other on a good race. One of the more enjoyable moments in these events is the amount of encouragement people give each other out on the road. This race was full of those, and I have learned that returning the encouragement is equally important.
It was a great day and incredibly fun to win an overall. All the support and kindness of my friends, family, teammates, and sponsors make stuff like this possible and I can’t thank everyone enough. Jakroo makes the most comfortable clothing to swim/bike/and run in for a triathlon. Folsom Bike and Endurance360 for keeping me happy with. UC Davis Sports Medicine and Judd Van Sickle for an amazingly fast and comfortable TT bike position. And of course, major thanks to my coach Jesse Moore.
We are extremely honored to have our own Marley Smith race in the Amateur category for the Time Trial stage in Folsom for the Amgen Tour of California. Her official time was 29:32.88 for a 12.5 mile course, averaging 25.4 miles per hour, which is fast enough to compete with the pros! She placed fifth out of the 21 amateurs. Great job!
Today Marley Smith, Claire Morgan, Susannah Breen and Heather Van Sickle were all super excited to race the Berkeley Hills Road Race today. The weather was sunny and mid-fifties with a nine mph wind. It was absolutely gorgeous! We had about twenty woman racers joining us that included the Metromint woman, Velo Sports, Pinnacle, Mikes Bikes and Red Racing. Each team had between 2-4 racers.
The race started off calm into a head cross wind section. Once we took the right hand turn into the cross tailwind section it was game on. A couple attacks were initiated by the main teams and by our team. Marley attacked on the first couple rollers and as soon as she was caught Susannah countered up one of the steeper rollers. Claire was very attentive to the moves and followed the attacks. Heather followed Joanna Dahl’s attacked and was joined by her team-mate, Leah Thomas, two Velo Sports riders, and two Pinnacle riders. We ended up dropping one Velo Sport and one Pinnacle rider on the Papa Bear climb. The quickly built a 4 minute lead, despite Heather not fully committing as she was outnumbered by the two mintys.
The break worked well together for about forty miles until we hit the last lap into the tailwind section. The metro mint ladies took advantage of the fact that they had two in the break and the tailwind. Joanna attacked but was brought back by the Velo Sports racer. Leah countered Joanna. Heather went with Leah’s move and made a gamble to work with her. Heather and Leah were out front for about ten minutes but both Velo and Pinnacle worked together to bring us back. As soon as we were, Joanna made a unbelievably fierce counter and left us all in the dust. The four remaining break-mates looked at each-other to see who was willing to try and bring Joanna back. The Velo Sport girl made many attempts but was unsuccessful. On the first bear both Leah and Velo Sport attacked and left Heather and the Pinnacle rider behind. On the second bear Heather attacked the Pinnacle rider and got away with third place Leah still in sight. On the final climb, Papa Bear, Heather closed the gap on third place to only seconds between them but ran out of climb. Joanna won solo, Velo Sport 2nd, Leah 3rd, Heather 4th, Pinnacle 5th.
Marley and Susannah worked on the last lap to drop everyone except eight riders. The two of them came into the final climb with the eight riders but Marley attacked at the base and was followed by a Velo Sport rider, Ginger. The two climbed together until Marley kicked it into her second gear and dropped Ginger. Marley finished the day in 6th. Susannah was only about a minute behind Marley and they were followed by Claire.
It was great to have not only a successful team race but also an aggressive road race. All the teams represented well and raced their bikes classy.