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2015-09-01 Vacaville Gran Prix Women’s P/1/2 Race Report by Judy Wexler

After attempting to race the Suisun crit, I was convinced my 2015 season was over. I dropped out of Suisun 30 minutes into the 50 minute race, unable to produce any more power in the 100 degree heat and smokey air. I chalked up my poor performance to a string of interruptions in training. The month prior to Suisun, I went to Kentucky for a long weekend to see friends, went to a conference in Berkeley and was off the bike for half a week and then went backpacking in the Desolation wilderness for another long weekend. I was not getting quality training in by any means. So after Suisun, I took the Garmin off my bike and just started to ride for fun. And I had a lot of fun in the feedzone at Winters RR on Saturday, supporting Diane and Dani. But when Sunday rolled around, I couldn’t resist racing on a course that I love and which is only 20 minutes from my house.

The Vacaville crit is extremely technical and has a great hill. You cannot ever get bored on that course. And because the course is technical, one can sit in a good position without having to fight for wheels. There are not many places on the course where you can move up, and I was pleased that on one of those stretches — the hill — my legs were feeling great. However, I still kept it conservative because I didn’t have confidence in my fitness. Diane kept it conservative because she was feeling a little pooped after the Winters race. We covered moves, kept the pace high, and generally were just going to wait until the end of the race to do things. Sadly, Diane flatted with about 1/3 of the race left, and when the mechanics in the pit went to change her wheel, her derailleur hanger snapped off. So I was left on my own and decided at that point I would be doing zero work. I had no problem staying 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wheel through the last few laps but my sprinting legs are rusty. Having rusty sprinting legs is kind of like being an impotent bike racer for me, since that’s what I do best, but I couldn’t be disappointed by my 4th place finish in the race given the distractions of the past several months. I had a blast racing and can’t wait for next year. Or next week, when I’m racing the Giro in SF.

2015-08-23 University Road Race Report by Diane Moug

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University Road Race Report

I was happy to return to the University Road Race course for an NCNCA race. I had raced it twice for collegiate cycling and had good luck on both occasions, so I was happy to test my legs on the course again.

At the start of the race we were told we would be racing 14 laps, but since the race started a little late the officials would let us know if they decided to shorten the course. During the first 5 laps different girls took turns setting pace at the front and the group whittled down little by little. At this point we were told that the race was shortened by 2 laps. I started to worry that they would shorten it further so I decided that the next time up the climb I would wait for an attack and then counter and try to get away.

At the base of the climb, Zoca p/b Halo Sports put in an attack that was brought back but caused a bit of separation. I put in a counter attack and looked back to only see Bethany Allen from Zoca on my wheel. Given how strong Bethany is, and how motivated she is to make a break work, I was thrilled to get to ride off the front with her. As we made our way around the course again and again we continued to make time on Katie Giles of US Military Endurance Sports who had struck out on her own for third. Even though it was clear how strong Bethany she was and that I could be out-climbed on the final lap, we joked about how we wanted to flip a coin for the win. In the end conceded that we would have to race each other.

As I hoped, Bethany attacked on the steep final part of the climb. This let me counter it as the course flattened out and started to descend. I knew I could create a gap on the descent, but hoped that I could hold it on the climb to the finish. Pedaling down the descent I kept my head down and never saw another wheel behind me. Finally as I turned to start the final climb I looked back and saw that I had maybe 5 seconds, which motivated me to press on to the finish line for first!

A final note of thanks to VeloPromo for putting on the race and keeping the course safe for us to race around, and around, and around the beautiful UC Santa Cruz campus.

2015-07-25 San Rafael Sunset Criterium Race Report by Judy Wexler

I love the San Rafael Twilight Crit so much! It is a highlight of the summer race schedule. The setting in lovely downtown San Rafael; the thundering crowds; Dave Towle announcing…it’s everything I love about bike racing. I think all the photos from me on the start line show my face with a huge smile.


After a terrible clip in on my part, the race was off. We cruised at a high pace for the first 8 – 10 minutes, after which Ivy Audrain (LA Sweat) attacked off of a prime. Hanna Muegge (MIke’s Bikes) followed her, but I figured that with an hour of racing left I wouldn’t waste my legs. That was an unfortunate assessment, especially after Mary Maroon (Academy Racing) bridged up. I acknowledged the strength of the break, but also felt that an hour was a long time to stay away. Well, I should have also realized that the two big teams in the field were Mikes Bikes and LA Sweat. Metromint simply didn’t have the legs to chase down the break, so I was relegated to sitting in, enjoying the evening, and waiting for the sprint. I have to say, I’m a little bummed about how the final sprint played out. I had my line picked out; I knew how I was going to take the last two corners, but some sketchiness by another rider forced me to break coming into the penultimate corner, so I ended up sprinting from a long way back. It was disappointing, but better to finish upright in 6th place than to not finish at all.

2015-07-04 Davis Fourth of July Race Report by Judy Wexler

I’m baacckk!!! For the months of May and June, I was lucky enough to have a gig in a biology lab in Barcelona. It was a wonderful experience, and I did some exciting science. But I wasn’t able to race for two months, and I missed being able to mix it up with teammies Diane and Dani. I brought my wonderful Trek Emonda to Spain with me and managed to sneak in ~ 3 rides a week when I was’t in the lab. (The riding in Catalonia is gorgeous — so many long climbs and wonderful views!) I also got in touch with my inner runner and ran 1 – 2 times per week. So when I returned last Tuesday I was fit, but not fit to race a bike. Nonetheless, I jumped into the Davis 4th of July crit because (1) it’s my home race, in my backyard, and (2) you gotta start back sometime! I was lucky that the course suits my strengths — it’s a fairly technical, L-shaped downtown crit. Metromint had a full squad of girls, and strong women Mary Maroon and Olivia Dillon were there flying solo. So on the start line, I started to regret my decision to sign up. But then the gun went off and I had the familiar thought I get at the beginning of all crits, “Why are these girls starting so slow?” I accelerated off the line and felt right at home. Five minutes into the race, I couldn’t believe how winded I was. But my plan was to simply sit in and get racing hours in my legs. At one point, this relaxed attitude came back to bite me when I was too far back in the pack and a gap opened up between the rider in front of me and the top 10 women. I had to spend an entire lap chasing solo to get back on, but at this point (halfway through the race) I was determined to finish in the front. I knew I didn’t have enough of a “top end” to be in a good position for the sprint, so I just held wheels and managed to cross the line in 8th place. It’s good to be home and back racing. I’m excited for the rest of season!

2015-06-21 Nevada City Classic Race Report by Diane Moug

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Going to the start line of the Nevada City Classic, I was surprised (actually, incredibly intimidated) by two registrants, Shelly Olds and Katerina Nash. These two ladies, in addition to many other fast women, made it clear I was going to have to get near the front as soon as possible, and then just try to hang on.

The race selection happened very early, within 2 laps there was a lead group of 8 that I was able to get into. From that point on I just tried to ride as smart as possible, which meant making sure I was behind good wheels coming into the technical corners at the bottom of the descent. At one point I relaxed a little during the descent, and the wheel I was on opened a fairly large gap after the second corner going into the climb. After that, I knew I couldn’t let that happen again.

The ladies in this group continued to attack during the climb, but everything stayed together heading into the last lap. I was so buried from the effort, and having so much fun racing with these very fast ladies, that I was surprised to hear the announcer say we had less than a lap to go. At that point Katerina Nash attacked, but was matched, and the top three selection of Shelly Olds who finished first, Chloe Dygert in second, and Liza Rachetto in third, was made. I came across in sixth after a very fun race.

2015-06-26 Canada National Championships Race Report by Diane Moug

Diane Moug

Diane Moug

Canadian Nationals

I didn’t start racing my bike until I moved to California from Vancouver in 2012. Since then, I had only raced in the US. This year I decided to go to Saint Georges, Quebec for Canadian Nationals, which was my first time racing in Canada – and it was a blast.

Time Trial
Thursday was the first race, the time trial. I was the seventh racer off out of about 35 ladies. The course was two times over a 15km (9 mile) out and back course that started downhill, was flat for a bit and then climbed about 3km (1.5 miles) to a turn around. The course was made very challenging by the gusty winds; the weather reported steady winds at about 20km/hour (12miles/hour) and gusting up to 35km/hour (20miles/hour). Even though riding in Davis had me used to winds, I was very sketched out with the wind gusts on the very fast descents. I managed to keep hold of my bike and finish in 9th place. Carol-Ann Kanuel (Velocio-Sram) finished in first place, 1 minute ahead of 2nd.

Road Race
Friday afternoon about 55 ladies rolled out for the road race. The course set out for 30km of net uphill which led to a 14km circuit that we did 3 times, then turned off the circuit to head back to the start/finish. The circuit started with a 1km (half mile) climb, that pitched very steep before the crest, then continued along a mostly downhill/flat course before turning back into the climb.

Every time heading into the climb I made sure I was well positioned at the front where I could be on attacks made by Optum p/b Kelly Benefits who had 4 riders in the race. I managed to stay with the front group every time over the climb, however within a few kilometers additional riders would gradually catch on. Early in the second lap of the circuit, a Trek Red Truck rider (who a very large, strong team) went off the front. Optum riders put the chase onto the rider during the third lap and she was brought back as we exited the circuit to head back to the start/finish.

Coming out of the circuit was a long gradual climb. Heading up this Carol-Ann Kanuel (Velocio-Sram) attacked and set a very tough pace. Again, I stayed with this move that left 6 riders. I really thought this move would stick since it had all of the favourites, except Leah Kirchman Optum’s sprinter. The move was brought back by Optum after some time and gradually a reduced group came back together. Denise Ramsden went off the front and managed to get a gap of about 2 minutes. However, Optum again put the chase on and brought it back in the final kilometers.

The race came down to a sprint of a reduced group (maybe 20 ladies were left). The finish turns right into a 200m uphill sprint to the finish. I managed to pull off 8th in the finish. Joelle Numainville (Bigla Pro Cycling) became the new Canadian Road Champion.

Criterium
On Saturday I had the day off before the crit on Sunday. The crit was over a 1.3 km, four corner course that had the same start finish (including the 200m uphill) as the road race. The course crested after the start/finish, turned left to descend a bit, then there was a significant descent between turns 2 and 3.

I was slightly out of my element going into this race since it was raining before and during the crit – and given California’s drought conditions I was slightly worried about handling my bike in the rain. During some warm up laps over the course I took the corners with some speed and figured I could handle the rain just fine.

I started at the back of pack, so I worked hard to get to the front quickly, especially during the corners and the downhill. This paid off as the race became aggressive quickly and every time I looked behind me I could see gaps forming and the pack becoming smaller and smaller. Even though I told myself I was going to sit back and not get too excited during the race, I attacked at about the 5th lap and I stayed away long enough to collect a preme (my first preme in Canadian dollars!). After I was brought back I sat in and followed moves.

At about 10 laps to go, Allison Jackson (Twenty Sixteen) and Denise Ramsden (Trek Red Truck) attacked and got some separation. They stayed about 15 seconds away, but Leah Kirchmann (Optum’s sprinter and 2014’s Canadian crit cham) was with the remaining pack and no one wanted to bring her up. Heading into the 6 laps to go, my rear derailleur cable snapped – which made for a lot of standing low cadence work for the rest of the race. The two escapees stayed away and Allison Jackson won the crit. Despite not having rear gears, I managed to stay with the remaining pack until the finish, and came in seventh. Leah Kirchman sprinted from our group for third. The course and weather proved to be even more decisive than I realized; only 11 riders finished the race.

Being in Quebec made for a great week of racing, and exploring a part of Canada I had never been to before. I look forward to going back for more racing soon. One of the best parts – after the crit I got to enjoy something I rarely get in the States, Poutine!

2015-06-06 Pescadero Road Race Report by Diane Moug

Pescadero Road Race Report

I came into the race after a really good week of training that gave me the confidence, and built up frustration after several races that left me on the podium, but not in the top spot. So this time I was ready to improve on last year’s second place.

About 15 girls started the race, with the most representation from Metromint with 3 girls, and Mike’s Bikes with 4 girls. The first lap went without incident and we got to take in some of the beautiful course views. Marissa Axell (Metromint) put in some great attacks, that put us on our toes, however nothing was allowed to get far.

The second time up Pescadero climb (the beautiful, switchbacking, 2.5km climb), Jill McLaughlin set a very strong pace which reduced the group to 5, and Leah Thomas got on the front for the winding descent to keep the separation. The group of 5 (myself, Jill, Leah, Bethany Allen from Zoca, and Alessandra from ICE) rotated together to try and stay away. Knowing that Beth Hernandez (Jakroo) would be putting on a strong chase behind, we had to keep things fast to stay away. However, the pace eventually dwindled and we were joined by the remaining girls.

Once we got to the last miles of the race, heading down the flat section before the finishing climb, there were a lot of attacks. Beth Hernandez, Joanna Dahl, and Leah all made attacks that were covered, but made everyone hurt. Clarice Sayle (Zoca) put in an extraordinary amount of work watching attacks and keeping things together for her teammate Bethany. Going into the final climb, things were still all together.

Again, Jill set a high pace up the final climb and rode a lot of girls off her wheel. I stuck to her pace, and when I felt that we could go faster, I took over to try to ride away from even more girls. Finally I looked back, and only Jill was there. I kept climbing as hard as I could, hoping that she would drop off, and finally with 200m to go I went hard to the finish and she didn’t come around.champpodium

On top of the Pescadero win, which was my first this season, this was the NCNCA District Championships, which meant that I got this jersey:

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2015-05-23 Folsom Crit Women’s Race Report by Heather Lipana

Diane and I had a title to defend and we gave 110% to secure the win yesterday.

On the second lap I attacked on the backside and when I looked back I had two girls with me and we had a significant gap so we immediately started working together. It was Fiona Winder and a Metromint girl named Christina I think. We got into a really steady rhythm like clockwork and switched off at the same place every lap. After several laps my legs were a little fatigued but I was thinking I could win this if we stayed away. But we didn’t stay away and with 7-8 laps to go we got caught.

Diane immediately started trying to get in a break, when I was behind her and a few girls got off the front I would noodle to stall the peloton. Finally on her own volition she got up the road solo and I was absolutely sure she could stay away because she had a huge gap.

Mary Maroon decided with three to go to drill it as hard as she could to catch Diane, sacrificing her own Sprint and stretching it out single file the whole time. It felt like I was in a men’s race it was so fast and steady and very slowly we kept gaining on Diane, which is ridiculously impressive that Mary was having that hard of a time catching up, some girls were complaining they could barely hold Mary’s wheel.

We caught Diane with 3/4 of a lap to go and I wasn’t in a great position to sprint to with 1/2 lap I attacked and was hoping I could stay away but I’m just not able to do that yet, especially after being in a break for awhile. Tina Hughes got on my wheel and I blew up in 20 seconds. Diane and I crossed the line in 24th and 25th place. We didn’t win but we represented In the race WAY MORE than anyone else and we’re both happy with our effort, we were wrecked afterwards and Diane said she hasn’t gone that deep for a LONG time, she was AWESOME! Mary Ellen who sat in the whole time for her 10 second sprint, won.

2015-05-09 Berkeley Hills Road Race Report by Diane Moug

The race started with 13 NorCal girls, with good representation from ICE with three girls each, and Zoca with two girls. For Folsom, Dani, Susannah, and myself came out to race. The race was exactly 3.7 laps around the course to make a 71mile race.

Racing started when Beth Newell (Jakroo Racing) attacked up the Mama Bear climb and kept the pace high. This was enough to detach some girls. Unfortunately, in the second lab Beth got a flat and couldn’t finish the race. The pace was kept high by Jane Despas and Sara Bird from ICE. Dani watched any attacks, and threw down some counter-attacks. The moves on the field usually caused some separation, but girls were able to work to catch back on.

On the final lap, on a climb with 8 miles to go, a hard attack by Joanna (Metromint) was joined by Alessandra (ICE), Bethany (Zoca) and myself. We kept this move away to the end and even had fun attacking each other on the final climbs to keep the race hard. On the final finishing climb, Alessandra, Beth and me started the climb to the finish. Beth took off and I hesitated for a second hoping Alessandra would respond. When she didn’t I jumped as well but Bethany was climbing away too fast. Bethany finished first, me in second and Alessandra in third. Thanks to Berkeley Cycling club for putting on such a great race!

The final thrill of the race came from Susannah, who despite racing hard, still was able to do this for a half hour after the race:susannah

2015-05-02 Cat’s Hill Classic Race Report by Diane Moug

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IMG_2549This was the first year that Judy and I were able to do Cat’s Hill, in previous years we had been away for collegiate races. Even though had only heard about the craziness of the hill, and it did nothing to limit my shock when we took the third corner and faced a wall during the pre-ride. Not only does the 20% climb make an interesting course, so does the rough pavement and fast corners after the descent.

The race started fast, but then stopped after two laps for something very surprising; a police pursuit from a hit and run needed to access the course. After about 5 minutes we were started again. Again the race started fast, and after about a lap and a half, Judy attacked and rode off the front. Leah Thomas (Metromint) attacked on the next climb to bridge up to Judy and I stuck to her wheel. As soon as Leah caught Judy, I pulled on the front and tried to keep our gap. Eventually we were joined by Clarice Sayle and Bethany Allen (Zoca), Beth Newell (Jakroo), and Melanie Wong (ICE).

This group stayed together for nearly the rest of the race, which was made even more fun by the spectators on the hill, and the plentiful primes – Judy walked away with a gift certificate to Beso’s Lingerie store, where she found something very special ;).

In the final laps, attacks came by Beth and Leah, and each time they became harder and harder to respond. In the final lap, there was another attack on the climb which left Beth and Leah off the front, with me and Bethany trying to chase them down. The sprint finished with Leah taking the win, Beth in second, Bethany in third, and me pulling out fourth.

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