For the 2017 San Dimas race Illi, Liz, and I (Diane) made the trip down to Southern California for a weekend of racing. This was my fourth year at the race and I had seen improvements every year with my fitness, comfort in the pack, and how to position myself during the road race. This year my fitness wasn’t great, so I was just hoping I could make it through the weekend without race-ending mechanicals like I had the previous 3 years. For Liz and Illi, this was their second year at the race; both were looking forward to fast and aggressive racing. As a bonus we got to re-connect with the race organizers that we had gotten to know in previous years; thanks again Bill and Annette McCusker for welcoming Folsom Bike Women back to San Dimas! A lot of these pictures were taken by Annette – thank you for sharing them with us!
The race starts on Friday with a 4 mile uphill time trial. Liz and Illi were both eager to test their fitness, and improve from the times the previous year. I was just trying to pace myself, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to match my previous performance. I was the last rider to start, and the time trial was as hard as expected. I passed the two riders ahead of me on the way up, so I knew it couldn’t have been that bad. I did show the effort on the way up:
The time trial finished with Liz in 22nd, Illi in 12th, and I surprised myself with 4th place. Krista Doebel-Hickok (Cylance) set the fastest time and had over 1 minute lead over 2nd and 3rd place. I was about 18 seconds back from 2nd and 3rd, and 5 seconds ahead of 5th. We spent the afternoon spinning around the road race course, and having a great time.
The San Dimas road race is 8 laps of a ~7 mile circuit. It is like a crit in that positioning is so important at nearly every point during the race. The main feature is a short, steep climb called Hecklers Hill that summits about 3 miles from the finish line.
Liz unfortunately got caught in a crash early on during a fast descent that broke her collar bone. We are hoping for a very speedy recovery for her!
The race stayed together for the most part, with any attacks quickly chased down by the yellow jersey. A lot of the pack’s focus was on sprint points since GC and QOM points were fairly wrapped up by the yellow jersey. About half way through the race, there was a separation on Hecklers hill that left me, Illi, the yellow jersey, and a couple of other riders in a promising move. Even though we were all working together, we were caught by the pack. A similar separation happened with just over two laps to go, but again it was brought back by a motivated pack. Illi was outstanding throughout the race, always in great position and being aggressive on the front.
Heading into the final climb, the pack was reduced and stayed together into the final sprint. Heading into the final, no one was motivated to make it fast and sacrifice her chances. Illi ended up on the front and led out the pack to the finish line. I was in good position, and I contested the group sprint for possibly my first time. I again surprised myself by passing girls near the finish line and crossing it in fourth; Illi finished in 12th place; and the yellow jersey took another stage win.
After the finish, we quickly found Liz at first aid, stopped for chocolate, and brought her to the ER.
Heading into the crit, Illi and I were ready to make it aggressive and have fun. We had planned to stay calm to see how things were up until the first points sprint at 20 minutes in, but neither of us stuck to that plan. Illi go onto the front on the first lap and began her attacks – they were often marked by the yellow jersey, but that didn’t deter her. I countered one of her attacks before the fast downhill section and managed to get off the front. I was chased down after a couple of laps, but I did manage to get a time bonus to put a bit more cushion between me and 5th place. Illi kept being aggressive and managed to take some primes as well. The race finished in a fast bunch sprint with Illi taking an impressive 6th place.
In the end, Illi finished 10th in GC and the top ranked junior rider. I held onto my 4th place in GC, my best finish at San Dimas to date.