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.