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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.

2015-04-26 Budweiser Seqoia Cycling Classic Criterium Race Report by Judy Wexler

Thanks to an endowment from Budweiser, the Visalia crit this past Sunday was stacked. In addition to some of the top sprinters from NorCal, a number of SoCal riders made the trek up in the hopes of cashing in big. As a result, the race was hard. As we drove down from Davis in the morning, we had heard Diane got third in a tough race at Wente. This motivated me to get on the podium in the afternoon’s crit. However, despite Dani’s best efforts, that was not to be. The two biggest teams in the race were ICE and Monster Media. Girls in these kits continually attacked and went up the road, and Dani marked almost every move. Meanwhile, my legs were hurting just sitting in. So when I got the chance, I started chasing down moves and told Dani to conserve while I did the work. This flip flop continued for a while until we saw 6 laps to go. Then Dani rolled up to me and said, “You’re going to win this race, and it’s going to hurt. Just nut up.” I realized I was being a baby, and immediately got up to 3rd wheel where I sat for the next few laps. The last lap was chaotic. The most challenging part of a race with unknown riders is deciding whose wheel to follow. There are strong teams, for sure. But for any given team, most of the riders are not designated sprinters. So I got swarmed on the last lap and ended up 11th. I’m not proud of that result, but I am thankful for Dani for giving me the mid-race edge.

2015-04-17 Sea Otter Classic Road Race Report by Diane Moug and Judy Wexler

The field at Sea Otter this year was noticeably reduced from the past year – US National crit and TTT championships probably had something to do with this. Even though the field was smaller (about 35 girls), didn’t mean it wasn’t a strong field. The void left by American ladies was taken by British Columbia racers who had made the trip south.

The two teams with strong representation were Trek Red Truck and Twenty Sixteen, they kept the pace high in the first couple of laps which dropped some riders early on. There were also some attacks and separation which never got very far up the road.

At the start of three laps to go, there was an attack that I went with. It ended up with Sara Bergen (Trek Red Truck) and Kaitie Antonneau (Twenty Sixteen) up the road, and me and Denise Ramsden (Trek Red Truck) bridging up. After a bit, Denise helped us get up to her teammate’s move. At this point I was pretty spent, which was pretty evident as I yoyoed up the feed zone climb.

At the top of the climb at two laps to go, we were caught by Alison Jackson (Twenty Sixteen) and Jill McLaughlin. At this point, there were attacks from our break. I couldn’t match the attacks and got dropped, while Denise got away on her own for the win.

Although I tried to chase back on, I was swept up by the remainder of the pack after the feed zone. The pace in the group stayed pretty calm for the last lap, and the five girls off the front stayed away. Dani and I finished with a reduced uphill sprint with the group.

After the race we took part in the other part of Sea Otter, checking out the exhibition and catching up with old friends.

Judy Wexler’s Report:

Last year, the circuit race at Sea Otter was a breakout race for me. This year…well let’s just say I got dropped Friday in the road race so I was just hoping to finish with the group on Sunday. The race length was shortened to 60 minutes after organizers decided to start us at 3 pm. So it seemed we were only racing for ten minutes before we saw a sign that said 6 laps to go. At this point, a few riders went off the front. Thinking that this was a little premature, we let the move go. We had enough pro women in our group that we believed the break would come back. Unfortunately, this calculation was incorrect. The move stuck, and when we realized this, Diane admirably did her best to bridge up, but was marked in the cross winds. With one lap to go, there was nothing to do but sit in and let the train come into the station for places 6 – 25.

 

2015-03-14 Land Park Criterium Race Report by Judy Wexler

Oh, how the tables turned at the Land Park Crit! The last time I lined up on this course was in January, for the Cal Aggie Crit. With Diane and Dani by my side, we repeatedly pummeled the group with attacks until the last lap, when Diane gave me a killer lead out and I sprinted for the win. On Saturday I lined up solo, facing three Jakroo riders including the Olympic hopeful Beth Newell.

The race proceeded much as I had predicted — I bridged up to one Jakroo attack after the next. I constantly marked Beth throughout the race, because I knew she was the one woman in the field who could beat me in a sprint. Moreover, I really wanted to sprint head-to-head against her in the finale.

Well, I had that chance — kind of. With three laps to go, I found myself in a group of 6 riders, including Beth, about 10 seconds ahead of the field. Beth refused to work in the group, since she had another sprinter (Amanda Seigle) back in the group. I only halfheartedly worked, because I didn’t want to be toasted in a sprint against Beth. But because the two strongest people in the move didn’t commit, we were in perpetual danger of being caught by the group. Normally being caught by the group doesn’t faze me, since I’m confident in my sprinting abilities. But I had been working hard the entire race, and I really didn’t want to get swarmed if the pack caught us in the last lap. So with 2 laps to go, I put in the most feeble attack on the break. My biggest regret from this race was not committing 100 percent to that attack — if I had, then Beth and I could have gotten away and I would have probably gotten second place. Instead, I ended up leading out the sprint with 400 meters to go as the pack breathed down our necks. I got fourth place on the day, and left feeling a little disappointed in my race tactics, and incredibly grateful for the work my teammies do in the races we do together.

2015-03 Madera Race Report by Diane Moug

Madera Stage Race Report

 

Dani, Judy, and I headed down early Saturday morning for the Madera Stage Race; during the dark, sleepy drive I don’t think anyone gave any thought to how dramatic and unpredictable the weekend would to be. To begin with, Dani went into the weekend bogged down with a cold, while Judy was just getting over a cold that had knocked her out the week before. The women’s field was not huge – only 18 ladies – but it had a strong representation from Metromint Cycling p/b The Freewheel, as well as Melanie Wong, Felicia Gomez, and Alessandra Sales from ICE Sportswear, and Sara Headley from Tibco.

The race started out with a crit in Madera on Saturday morning.  There were two primes for 5 bonus seconds; those were taken by Felicia and Melanie. Metromint was working for their sprinters and generally held the race together. Finally, Metromint and Dani led out the final laps to finish in a group sprint. Sara Headley came first, and Metromint took second and third with Mary-Ellen Ash and Marrisa Axell, respectively. Judy came in just behind for fourth.

That afternoon was the 10 mile time trial. It was nice to already be warmed up after the crit. After Chico Stage Race I wasn’t thrilled about my time-trial, but Judd gave me some hard intervals for my TT bike and they seemed to be doing the trick at Madera. I didn’t feel great (in the way you’re not supposed to feel good at a TT), but I felt really fast. Although, that didn’t matter when I got confused at the last corner and took it too late. I slid out with my hip and chin taking most of the impact, not the aero wheels I had borrowed (phew!). Someone pulled up right away and he helped me up, put my chain on the proper side of the crank arm, and pushed me off again. Dani, who had already finished, was nice enough not to make fun of me for crashing in a TT as I sheepishly rolled up to the car. Later that night the results came in – I had finished in fifth about a minute behind first. Metromint were again super strong with Leah Thomas in first, and Joanna Dahl in second which put them in the top two spots for GC going into the road race. Sara Headley came in third about 35 seconds behind Leah.

The road race started with two fewer girls from Metromint, and one less from Folsom: Leah had won the time trial despite having the flu, but was too sick to start the next day. Molly Van Howling had a mishap during the TT that caused her to crash and she did not start. Dani was also too sick to start the race.

The road race was four laps of 16 miles, with about 4 miles of rough road, and about 2 miles of rollers to the finish. Metromint had many girls go off the front, including an initial move of Marissa and Judy. The significant move came early in the third lap where Alessandra (ICE) and Christina (Metromint) got off the front. After this had been established Judy went off too. The ICE/Metromint move stayed just over a minute out, while Judy hovered around 30 seconds. Judy was caught by the pack as the fourth lap started. Soon after Judy took up the chase with Sara and the break was caught right before the rough section. As we made the turn onto the rough road Judy warned “I’m done” – she had done a remarkable amount of work. Along the rough stretch we were waiting for attacks to go. Felicia made one that I brought back with the group behind me. Frustrated her move didn’t go anywhere she said to me “don’t you guys want to win the race” then “come on” and attacked again. This was enough to persuade me and I went with her to put in an earnest effort. We worked together well for a couple of miles, then I noticed there was less work from her and more looking around, then with a mile left she was sitting on my wheel. I didn’t want to play cat and mouse with her since our lead was not large enough, and Felicia had a fresh teammate (Melanie) back there, whereas Judy had already put in a huge amount of work and was done. So I just kept pulling us to the finish where she jumped on the last rise to the finish line and came across first. The time bonus for Felicia coming in first, plus the gap back to Joanna mean that she won the GC, with Joanna in second, and me in third.

 

Looking back on the way the weekend shook out, it seems you were lucky if you only got stung by a bee (there were a lot of bees out there), and were able to avoid mechanicals, illnesses, and crashes.

2015-03-01 Chico Stage Race Report by Diane Moug

Photo credit: Alex Chiu Photography (http://acaurora.smugmug.com)

Cara, Dani, Judi and I made the short trip to Chico to mix it up in the women’s field for the weekend. We were looking forward to the fun courses and the competitive women’s field.

Circuit Race

Racing started on Friday afternoon at the Thunderhill raceway with a 75 minute circuit race. Things were not particularly fast, and some short-lived solo moves got away from ICE, but nothing stayed away for long. On the final lap, everything was together. Over the first steep rise, Dani got on the front and kept the pace high over the backside. Then on the final rise, about 2km from the finish, Alison Jackson from Twenty Sixteen attacked on the climb and got away until the finish. Judy pulled out a sixth place sprint from the pack.

Road Race

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The main feature of the two lap, 90 mile road race is the 4 miles of gravel that comes at 11 miles and 56 miles. Although things were fast through the gravel the first time, with 70+ miles of racing still left, the pack sat up and rolled along. Anyone that had trouble through the gravel the first time was able to easily chase back on. A rider from Roosters/Bikers Edge went off on her own soon after the gravel. The pack rolled along, and once the solo rider’s gap got too large, Twenty Sixteen put the chase on. She was caught just before we entered the gravel a second time.

The second time through the gravel was a bit more selective. A group of about 15 came out on the other side, however there was still no sense of urgency. After a bit more rolling, the pack grew to about 30 and attacks started to go. I was briefly in a move that got chased down quickly. After that I naively let myself go to the back, a little frustrated that the gravel had not been more selective, and that the race was so stop and go. I learned a good lesson about racing at this point when the winning move of 6 girls got away and I was far at the back of a strung out and guttered peloton.

For the remainder of the race, the pack worked to pull back the break however tthey were never caught. But finally the finish was conceded to the break away, from which Alison Tetrick (Optum) took the win.

Cara had tough luck the second time through the gravel when her rear derailleur broke and left her unable to ride her bike. To show just how tough she is, Cara finished the race on a neutral support bike so she could race again on Sunday.

Time Trial

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The time trial was a flat, 10 mile point to point course. The team arrived as prepared as we could afford to be for the TT, but we were shocked at how much expensive equipment we were able to hustle in the parking lot before the race. All of us were able to start with full disc/aero wheel set ups, aero helmets, and aero booties. Thanks parking lot friends!

The TT was windy; it started fast with a tail wind for about 3 miles, then a right turn with a bit of a cross wind from the right, then about 2 miles of it into a head wind along a river that just barely distracted from the “joy” of a TT.

After the head wind river section, I don’t remember much besides seeing riders ahead and deciding that I had to catch them. Finally the finishing signs were there and it was over. The TT helped me move to 12th in GC, not great, but at least in the money.

Criterium

The downtown Chico crit started FAST. The first laps were a matter of just hanging on in the strung out group. Finally, after what felt like the whole race, but it might have only been 15 minutes, things settled down. The race continued on, speeding up for prime laps and then settling down a bit.

With about 10 laps left, a group of 5 slipped away with representation from the major teams. The pack did not seem very motivated to chase, and after a couple of laps with the group away I decided I would try something. It wasn’t entirely intended to be a bridge attempt; but just something to do and maybe someone would come too or it could spur a chase from the group. I ended up by myself and I could see the lead group ahead, with the time gaps slowly coming down. After, I was told I came close (at least from the point of view of spectators), but then a $1000 prime was called and the break became a bit more motivated. Alison Jackson from Twenty Sixteen took another win from the break with the pack coming in behind.

The weekend was a great motivator and learning experience for the Folsom ladies. Although our results did not come out as we had hoped, we were grateful for the opportunity to race with fast girls from all over the states. We are especially thankful for our awesome hosts Tammi and Greg who let us stay at their house in Chico for the weekend.

2015-02-21 Snelling Road Race Women’s P/1/2 Race Report by Judy Wexler

As we drove down to the Snelling road race on Saturday morning, I reminisced about the last time I’d entered this race. It was 2012, and I was new to the California racing scene. I was also pretty out of shape. Naive and unfit, I got dropped and chased back on twice before abandoning the race the third time I was dropped. I told Dani on the drive down, “The second best part of that race was being pulled back to the group by you (and we weren’t even team mates yet!) The best part was dropping out.”

Dropping out of this race certainly wasn’t an option yesterday. Folsom Bike brought a strong squad (Cara Fitchett, Dani Haulman, Diane Moug, Susannah Breen, and me), and we were there to win. The plan had been to get Diane in a winning move off the front of the race. The five of us were all agressive from the start, but it was difficult for any move to stick. The men’s P1/2 field faced a similar dilemma — without its signature wind, the Snelling course is not very selective. And with the full use of the road (which was fabulous!), riders found it difficult to sneak away.

For most of the second lap, Diane was in a break with Felicia Gomez (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing) and Mary Maroon (Academy). But issues with cooperation in the group spoiled its prospects, and they were caught after several miles. The pace was fierce for the first half of the race. And I was already tired when I covered a move by Melanie Wong (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing). But someone from the team needed to be up there, so I did my best. Melanie was a beast, and I was reduced to only pulling about one third of the time we were up the road. But each time I got to the front, I thought, “The longer I’m out front, the more tired the field will be when they catch us, and the better chance Diane will have of staying off the front.” So when we were caught after almost a lap, I was crestfallen to see everyone and their mother mark Diane as she valiently tried to get away.

Shortly after this event, Dani and I conferenced in the back of the peloton, resigned to the fact nothing was going get away. Dani asked if I felt good for a sprint. I replied, “No, I feel awful, but I’m going to get the job done.” We decided the team would take control on the final straight away before the last turn. Dani would be immediately in front of me, with Diane in front of her. With about 1.5 K to go, people got crazy — riders were swerving across the road, battling for position like this was some world championship event. Shortly after 1k to go, I sat boxed in behind Dani, Diane, Mary Maroon, Felicia Gomez, and Lenore Pipes (unattached) and just yelled, “I’m f*cked!” At that point, I did not think I was going to win the race. But as per usual, Diane and Dani make miracles happen. They kept me out of danger and kept the pace high. We rounded the final corner, which is about 300 meters to the finish, and Mary, Lenore and Felicia just exploded up the hill. I comfortably rode Felicia’s wheel at this point, staying with the group but refusing to start my sprint until at least 200 meters. Right after we passed the 200 M sign, I stood up, wound up and gunned it to the finish. About 100 meters from the line I thought, “DO THIS FOR YOUR AMAZING TEAMMIES,” and 50 meters from the line I thought, “Holy sh*t, I am winning this race!”

As per usual, I could not have gotten this result without the support of the team. I flippin’ love these girls and if I had to would sprint with one leg to pay them back for their work.

2015-02-15 Coppertown Circuit Race W P/1/2/3 Race Report by Judy Wexler

img_6960Dani and I had a blast despite being two out of the three P1/2 to show up for the Coppertown circuit race on Sunday. While the low turnout was disappointing, it did not stop us from getting 2.5 hours of solid racing in — we hoped in the men’s 35+ 1/2/3 race in the morning, and the 45+ 1/2/3 race in the afternoon. The latter race was run in conjunction with what was supposed to be a women’s race. In reality, all three of us (me, Dani, and Sprintin’ Kitten’s Lindsay Wetzel Polin) just mixed it up in the men’s field. I have to say, these guys were super cool to race with. They were tickled to have us in their race, and I even got an offer of a lead out (which I politely declined, given how low the stakes in our women’s race were).

While there is an awesome rush that comes with racing against pro women and mixing it up in huge, highly competitive fields, it’s nice to know that you can have an equal amount of fun just hamming it up with your teammie on a day that almost no one else shows up to race. And Team Folsom Bike/Trek definitely brings the fun!

2015-02-14 Folsom Winter Criterium Women’s P/1/2/3 Race Report by Danielle Haulman

This year, the Folsom Winter Criterium took place on Valentine’s Day.

Reluctantly, I set aside that box of chocolate-covered strawberries, and joined my Folsom Bike/Trek teammates at NorCal’s premiere early season race. Nearly 40 women showed up to race the Women’s Pro 1,2, & Women 35+ field on this sunny, love filled day, thanks to the NCNCA Women’s Series.

For Folsom Bike/Trek, this was the first time we had most of the team racing together on our shiny, new Trek Emondas. Contrary to my coach Ryan Eastman’s advice, I had refused to take the stock-reflectors off my new bike until I won my first race of 2015. And while we do not typically go into a race with a plan: In compliance with my irrational stubbornness, the team decided I should go for the win, so that I could take off my reflectors, and stop embarrassing everyone.

Early on in the race, it was clear that Folsom Bike/Trek versus ZOCA p/b Halo Sports would be the theme of the day. From the first lap of the race, when Cara Fitchett (Folsom Bike/Trek) rolled of the front, the ZOCA girls were the first to respond.

For the next 20 minutes of the race, Folsom Bike/Trek would attack and ZOCA would chase.

Halfway through the race, I rolled off the front with ZOCA’s Bethany Allen. Bethany was an admirable breakaway companion, splitting the work evenly; keeping moral high with her optimistic commentary. We managed to maintain a 20 second gap on the field for the duration of the race, while discussing how the color orange is trending in 2015 cycling fashion.

With 3 laps to go, I was confident we would stay away from the field. I briefly deliberated between attacking the break and waiting for the sprint. Given the amount of drag my reflectors were creating (and Bethany’s tenacious race style),  I was not certain I could solo for the win. I opted to wait patiently and sprint, which was successful strategy.

Naturally, Judy Wexler (Folsom Bike/Trek) won the field sprint for 3rd place, after a solid lead out from Cara Fitchett, Diane Moug, and Heather Van Sickle (Folsom Bike/ Trek). Nor Cal junior phenom’s Aliya Traficante (Amain.com) and Kieran Devere (Limitless Cycling) rounded out the Pro 1,2 top 6.

But the Valentine’s love did not end there, the BP race promoters showered us in Muscle Milk, Sierra Nevada, Lululemon, and saddlebags with multi-tools, so I can finally remove my bike reflectors.

 Folsom Bike/Trek rider, Danielle Haulman, lives in San Rafael, CA.

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