by Trina Jacobson (SC Velo/InCycle)
I don’t think it’s a secret that the team hasn’t had the same level of success this year as in years past, and – as with most things – we know that there will be ebbs and flows in who the dominating team is. Knowing and dealing with the situation of it being an “ebb year” can be two different things. Throughout the season, SC Velo/InCycle has made great showings, and made it to the podium several times, including a win at Ladera Ranch Grand Prix, but the consistency and the teamwork has taken all season to improve and we feel it all came together last Sunday at Brentwood Grand Prix.
It’s been frustrating on a personal level to have a personal “ebb year,” too, which has affected my confidence on race day. Additionally, when my confidence is low, my decision-making isn’t on point, and I have been guilty of racing out of impatience, frustration, and trying to force a particular situation. So, going into Sunday’s race, despite it being the state championship, I wasn’t champing at the bit to get out there. I wasn’t expecting anything except a hard race.
Perfect. The self-pressure was off.
I absolutely love the course because it’s technical enough to keep you on your toes and provides a great spectating venue, and Velo Club LaGrange did a great job of gathering cash (equal prize money and two $500 primes!!) and prizes (what lady doesn’t like a dozen roses?).
My teammates Pam Schuster, Holly Breck, Becky Siegel, and Tammy Wildgoose lined up at the start with me and I got nervous. I focused on being in THAT moment and the nerves went away because it’s a different year (I crashed out in the last lap last year) and I was prepared (I’ve done the work to be confident in my abilities).
Throughout the race there were several cash primes and several solo riders motivated to create a break that kept the pace high. The team felt strong enough to go for some of the primes, including Holly’s $500 win! I was only concerned about by abilities once during one of Katie Donovan’s (NOW and Novartis for MS) monster attacks that strung the entire field out single file. After surviving that one, and then others by Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (Team TIBCO II) and Joy McCulloch (CashCall Mortgage), I knew I’d be ok for the finish as it was closing in on the final laps.
My determination was bolstered hearing my friends cheering from the sidelines – I usually don’t hear ANYTHING unless I’m pretty fit – and by seeing my teammates race like true champions.
In the final lap, I saw Helen’s Racing gather and my teammates shuffled a little bit, requiring me to make a decision on which teammate to follow. Unfortunately, I chose the left, which pinned me along the barriers on the inside of the “Brentwood Bend.” It was my first time getting pinned like this, and as Suzanne Sonye opened her sprint, I yelled as I just didn’t want her to take me INTO the barriers. I had to slow my roll and go around her on the other side, which scrubs a lot of speed, but I held on to tie with Melina Bernecker (Primal Pro Women P/B BH) for second. Teammates Holly Breck and Pam Schuster finished 5th and 7th thanks to the hard work Becky Siegel did in the last lap.
We raced as a team, raced patiently, and raced with confidence; and the reward was a podium spot at a championship event alongside some of the fastest and toughest women in Southern California. It wasn’t the top step, but it was an important step for the team.