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The Bump Circuit Race

After a successful season opener racing the Folsom Winter Crit with Senders, Illi and Diane, I was pumped to line up again the next day at The Bump Circuit Race in Livermore with Sara, Melanie and Illi. Sara and Melanie had raved about this race in the preseason, so I was pretty curious about the famed “bump” power climb—how steep was this thing anyway?

We lined up with a pretty big and powerful field, alongside some ace sprinters. Each of us covered attacks early on, but things really got moving when Melanie put in a massive attack and went off the front solo. Nobody matched it, and Melanie buried herself for the team for most of the first lap, allowing the rest of us to take it easy and wait for the next development. That came soon enough, with a strong attack from Hanna which split the field. Illi and I ended up in a group of 5 with Hanna, Claire and Megan Ruble. This was a motivated group so the pace was high, but Sara and Christina from JL Velo were chasing hard. The gap to Melanie came down slowly, and we caught her just at the top of the bump. After that, our group of 5 stayed together, with Illi and I able to chill out because we knew our teammates were hot on our wheels.

Finally, we were closing in on the bump for the last time. Our group of 5 lined up side by side across the road, each of us looking for an avenue to open up the sprint, but nobody ready to make the first move. As we rounded the final right-hander, I could feel the pace pick up. I thought it would be hard to come around the leader on the bump itself, so I kicked hard to come around on the left in the downhill before the bump. However, my plan to switch from the big to the little ring mid-bump was…not a good one to say the least! I was mashing, mashing, mashing, and then suddenly…oh no! I was spinning, spinning, spinning! My chain had not shifted at first, and then suddenly moved to the little ring! But Illi, who had a much smarter plan to tackle the bump, solidly kicked on to the line and won the sprint!

All in all, I was pretty proud and thrilled by the teamwork we used to win this race, and I drove home high on the satisfaction of being part of a smart and strong team. A solid weekend of racing for the Folsom Bike/Trek women in the
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Also, a big shoutout to our sponsors, Folsom Bike, Trek, Bontrager, Jakroo, GU, Athleticamps, Oakley and Hoo Ha Ride Glide, who keep us on the best equipment, kitted, fed, comfortable and ready to rock it every race!

Liz

Folsom Winter Crit

 

First, sorry that it has taken so long to get this race report up, things have been hectic with the start of race season aligning with job interview season. Me, Senders, Liz, and Illi came out for the Folsom Winter Classic crit for a kick off to 2017 – Judy, Fanny and Erin also showed up to cheer from the sidelines. We were all feeling fast in our new Jakroo speedsuits, which worked out well with the field waiting for Folsom to be the aggressors. Let than 10 minutes in, after some attacks and chase downs, two riders dangled very close off the front. I powered up to them and expected to be marked right away, but no one followed and I went right past them. With that separation, I didn’t like the idea of going solo for the next 40 minutes, so I put my head down and hoped I would catch the field before the race ended.

After 25 long minutes, I made it back to the field. The Folsom ladies that had been marking attacks, were eager to start attacking and having fun again. Even though they were always closely marked, Illi and Senders still managed to snag a couple more primes. When we got to the last lap, I found out designated sprinter, Liz and led her out to the last corner. She sprinted away and was the first one to cross the line, while Illi nearly caught her for third place.

With that, we started the season out with a sweep of the podium!

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Thank you of course to the volunteers and Sierra Nevada for putting on a great season opener.

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British Track Nationals

Illi Gardner

A few weeks ago I flew over to Manchester for the British track nationals. Most of the winter was spent doing track-specific workouts (a lot of time in trainer hell) rather than long base miles. We signed up a few months ago – I’m unable to compete in the US nationals as I’m not a citizen so we decided to just go for it. It seemed like a crazy idea then and was an even crazier experience but I’m really glad we went.

The level of competition in the UK is high. There is a massive focus on track in the BC system and everything is very structured. They were all experienced and relaxed while I was freaking out about warming up next to Katie Archibald (and trying not to fall off the rollers).

This was (slightly worryingly) one of my first track races. I started doing track in August for the Bi-National games in October, which I loved, but the field was small. We went down to the LA track a few times, which is similar to Manchester, but nothing could quite prepare me for this!

The first few days were spent adjusting and testing out the track. I got to join a team GB session which was quite scary but very cool! I also had the opportunity to test out the starting gate, which I had never used before.   

My first race was the 3k individual pursuit on Friday. I was terrified. I had a good start for the first time ever but ended up completely fading (first lap was 23 seconds instead of the usual 25…then 17…a few 18s…and into the 19s by the end…). It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. I know better for next time.

The next day was the scratch race. Qualifiers were in the early afternoon and finals in the evening. The top half of the two heats moved on to finals. There were twenty-something people in my heat and throughout the race I made sure to stay relatively near the front. Qualifiers were half the distance of finals; 20 laps, which took five minutes or so. With five to go it got a bit out of control. I found myself right at the back and panicked. I was desperately trying to move up, but so was everyone else around me. Suddenly there was one lap left and I was definitely not in the top half and so wasn’t as careful as I should’ve been. I’m not entirely sure what happened: we were at the first turn and I think I was trying to get in the same space as the girl next to me and we bumped shoulders. Phew, stayed upright–or not. I hit the wheel in front (really? How did I manage that?) and went down along with two others. Physically I was alright but really embarrassed. There was no reason to crash, and I obviously couldn’t finish the race because it happened in the last fifteen seconds. To fly all that way and waste everyone’s time, money and effort…I was really angry with myself. I broke my helmet but managed to borrow a spare – everyone was very supportive.

Next, and last, was the points race. My positioning was terrible; I left giant gaps and just wanted to make it through upright with yesterday’s crash still on my mind. Hopefully with experience I’ll be able to move on from things like that with less difficulty. It was a pretty fast heat but I could’ve done a lot better.

We watched finals which was fun. The velodrome was packed. I wish I had gotten to ride in them but it was all down to me so I can’t complain!

Although my results weren’t good, it was a crazy and fun experience. I got to race with those at the highest level, meet lots of nice people, and learn a massive amount.

We wouldn’t have even been there if it wasn’t for Beth and Jakroo – her help with training and support during the trip was amazing – thank you! I will learn how to do all the bike maintenence soon, I promise…

Now on to the road season!

Kicking off the 2017 season with team camp in Monte Rio

Last weekend, in between rain storms, the Folsom Bike/Trek women’s elite team headed up to beautiful Sonoma county to kick off the season with a two day training camp. We were missing Aliya, who is currently based in Tucson training with the Homestretch Foundation, and Illi, who is training for British National Track Championships.

On Saturday, we rode out to King’s Ridge, where the elusive California sunshine greeted us. After a solid day of training, rockstar Diane treated us all to an amazing chicken curry dinner. On Sunday, we headed south to the coast in search of pastries. With visits to Tomales and Wild Flour bakeries, it was mission accomplished and more solid training miles in the bank.

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Does it get any better than this?

After a weekend filled with good training, amazing food, and lots of laughs, we are ready to hit the ground running, err cycling, with the first races just around the corner.

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But wait…there’s more

FE1I0277Who’s ready for a bonus round? We’re not saying that we don’t believe her, but this next very special individual seems to have a knack for keeping us in constant suspense by saying every race is going to be her last. Now in “semi-retirement,” Judy Wexler is one speedy sprint ninja.

judywexler2017Judy Wexler started racing in 2005, representing Tufts University in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. She’s since raced in New England, the DC Metro Area, the Pacific Northwest, and the NCNCA. Judy is mostly retired for the 2017 season, as she’s focused on finishing her PhD in evolutionary genetics and entomology at UC Davis. However, you may still see her reppin’ the Folsom pink and black in her favorite discipline — the criterium! Highlights of her career include basically the entire 2014 season, which saw her snag 2nd place at collegiate crit nationals, 4th place in the collegiate nationals road race and 3rd in the omnium in addition to 4th place at the Sea Otter circuit race. Her favorite NCNCA victories include Snelling in 2015 and winning the crowd prime at the 2014 Davis 4th of July crit.

Say what you want Judy, but we know you are going to ride your bike just as much during your “semi-retirement” and crush every “occasional” race you enter. Folsom Bike would not be the same without you!

Roster Rollout: Melanie Wong

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To say this little lady is #PROUDTORIDELIKEAGIRL is an understatement. Rounding out the squad and returning for her second season with  the Folsom Bike team is Melanie Wong. In her own words…

65755563-img_1001“Hi there – my name is Melanie and I am a jack-of-all-trades that is one part cycling fiend, one part tech professional and one part crazy cat lover. After growing up as a competitive gymnast, swimmer and diver, I found cycling five years ago and haven’t looked back since. I love the game behind team strategy and to me there is nothing more fun than “playing bikes.” In the other half of my life I am a project manager at LinkedIn where – very much like cycling – I organize software teams to collaborate, communicate and get shit done. I believe that athletes make the best employees and enjoy how one passion feeds the other. My spirit animal is my black kitty, named Chirpcat, who prefers to make ‘chirrup’ noises rather than ‘meow’. I have no idea why. Much like her mom, she is very agile, sometimes finicky and loves to curl up and be warm. I always wear tall, hot pink socks with my kit so if you see a short, long-haired girl rolling around with obnoxiously bright socks, come say hello.”

An energetic and devoted teammate, Melanie completes our fantastic roster of talented ladies. See you at the races!

Roster Rollout: Liz Otto Hamel

liz_toni_gauthierIt’s been a little rainy outside, but we’ve got another rider announcement to help brighten your day. Liz’s positive, can-do attitude and hard work ethic makes us smile, even in the gloomiest of circumstances.

Liz is an all-arounder who will be starting her third season of bike racing this year. She’s a recent PhD graduate who found bike racing in grad school. Liz has always loved endurance sports of all kinds. She raced track and cross country for four years in high school and has been cross country and alpine skiing with her active family since she was small. She feels exceptionally fortunate to have stumbled upon the recreational biking and bike racing communities in Norcal. When not on her bike, she loves cooking, art, reading, and spending time with her husband, Blaise.

Thanks for being our ray of sunshine Liz! Looking forward to 2017.

Roster Rollout: Fanny Bourdais de Charbonnière

fannybourdaisdecharbonniere2017We’re back in action after a little hiatus that involved lots of cookies, gifts and champagne. So without further ado, we are pleased to introduce Ms. Fanny Bourdais de Charbonnière to the Folsom Bike family.

Fanny grew up in France playing tennis, skiing and horseback riding before focusing 200% on her studies and career. After graduating from HEC in Paris, she was hired by an investment bank in New York where she survived 10 years before moving to Sacramento last year to work in the private markets arm of CalPERS (infrastructure, energy and real estate investments). She bought her first road bike 4 years ago to get back in shape and “train for a triathlon” but quickly realized she would not make it out of the water alive and instead jumped head first into bike racing while barely knowing how to clip in. Waking up at 4am to race in Central Park, endless off-the-bike winters and 28h work days were getting old so she did not hesitate when she got an offer to move to the best coast and had a blast during her first Western racing season in 2016. She is very excited to join the Folsom Bike Women’s racing team and to work for such a great squad in 2017.

We’re excited to have you join us Fanny! Looking forward to a great season.

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Roster Rollout: Diane Moug

FolsomCrit_Picture.jpgIt’s Wednesday and, although we know you’re a little panicked by the fact that you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, there’s no time like the present for a very special roster announcement. Diane Moug has been a pillar of the Folsom Bike Women’s squad for as long as we can remember and has shown Northern California again and again that she is a force to be reckoned with.

dianemoug2017Diane has been on the Folsom Bike Women’s team for pretty much her whole cycling career, and is excited to be back for a fifth season with some very fast ladies. She started cycling when she moved to Davis from Vancouver, BC in 2012; since then has never taken the warm, (relatively) dry winters in California for granted. This winter and spring she will be focused not only on cycling, but also finishing her PhD in Civil Engineering at UC Davis. Her research is improving the tests that predict ground and building foundation strength loss during earthquakes – if you are still interested, she explains it here. Diane’s perfect bike ride is very long and hilly, filled with conversations about the Great British Bake Off and NPR, and followed by coffee and chocolate.

Talented, humble, gracious and wicked smart, Diane is truly a class act. We are so excited to have you back for 2017!

 

 

Roster Rollout: Sara Enders

saraenders2017The 2017 season welcomes so many fresh faces to the squad! Sara Enders, affectionately nicknamed “Senders,” is one chick with some serious firepower. Whether pounding up steep hills or taking the sprint to the line, this girl can do it all – and then some.

Sara grew up in Massachusetts, where she eschewed sports until she was 11 because she “didn’t like competition.” Some switch got flipped around that age, though, and she traded dance classes for lots of team sports, including weird East Coast things like lacrosse, eventually focusing on soccer and playing through college on Yale’s club team. Sara has always had a bike and liked going fast on it, so when she came to UC Davis for grad school her head was turned by the very sexy, national championship-winning Aggie cycling team. She was too cheap/poor to spring for a race bike for many years, but finally got a nudge when she found she couldn’t follow her then-boyfriend (now husband) up a big hill in Portland on her inherited 1962 Raleigh. The problem was not the bike, but crit gearing and a front derailleur that had probably been broken, unnoticed for years in Davis–but all’s well that ends well. 6 months later Sara was cruising around at Collegiate Nationals (and dropping Bob on hills xoxo).

Off the bike, Sara is an Environmental Scientist with a B.S. in Geology, an M.E.Sc. in Water Science, Policy, & Management, and a Ph.D. in Soil Science & Biogeochemistry. Her work has ranged from transboundary watershed management in Central America to supporting the EPA’s drinking water program activities, to reconstructing past climate change from organic compounds in soil. She is living in Sacramento and looking for work. You should hire her!!!!

Welcome to the Folsom Bike family Sara!

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