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.