Words by: Judy Wexler (Folsom Bike/Trek- Women’s Road Team)
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 my (Folsom Bike/Trek) teammate Dani Haulman 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 this past Saturday. Folsom Bike brought a strong squad (Cara Fitchett, Dani Haulman, Diane Moug, Susannah Breen, and myself), 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 aggressive 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, 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,”.
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.
Judy Wexler lives in Davis, CA.
Words by: Dana Williams (Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Coffee)
Snelling is considered the official opening road race of the season. It tends to draw a big field and this past Saturday was no different.
A full field of 100 riders lined up at the start under cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 50s. Many teams had strong representation, with at least five of them having five or more riders in the field. Team Specialized had the largest with nine riders, followed by Mike’s Bikes, SquadraSF p/b Terun, Lange Twins, Bicycle Plus and Chronos all with around six riders. It was either going to be your typical early-season slugfest or just a fast race in general with nothing being allowed to get away. In the end, the latter was the case.
We rolled up the start ready to do battle. Following the 2k neutral roll out, with riders jockeying for the front, the race was on. Snelling is somewhat notorious for cross winds, causing the field splinter, but that wasn’t the case today.
The first real move of the day went away about half way through the first lap. Unfortunately for us, by this time Scott Cox had a front wheel puncture and was no longer in the race. Local strongman Patrick Stanko (Team Stand) and former pro, Michael Sayers (Team HSP), slowly gain some space on the field. Thankfully our South American ‘climbing sensation’ Luiggi Zuniga was latched on the back of the two. This allowed us to watch the other teams go to work and try to real them back.
My teammates did an awesome job of going with any dangerous moves or bringing back anything we missed out on. The leaders put up a Herculean show of defiance, finally being brought back early on the forth lap; gruppo compatto. Then the real fireworks began. Counter attack after counter attack. And the team star of the day, Luiggi, was still there mixing it up. We did well to cover all the moves.
Half way though the last lap and everybody was all together again. The sound of carbon wheels along the pavement, with very little talking, represented the calm before the storm. The group made the left turn onto the final 3k stretch. Littered in bumps and patched pavement, attention to positioning was of utmost importance. At this point our revised team plan (without Scott Cox) was to have Chris Hobbs and Oli Ryan lead Chris Bromstead to the final turn, with him sprinting as hard as he could towards the finish and me coming off his wheel.
The chaos and number of riders definitely made this challenging. As it turned out, I was on the left hand side and boxed in a bit with 50 meters to the final turn. I moved right and accelerated up the inside. Thankfully Oli was right ahead of me and I shouted “stay there, on your right”.
I squeezed by, making up 8-10 places. As I exited the turn, miraculously Scott Bromstead was right there. I yelled ‘go, go, go!’ He hit it and only two riders were in front of him; Chris Baker followed closely by Sayers with a 10m gap. I could see Sayers waiting to make his move and knew I had to go. I sling shotted off Bromstead and dug deep to reach Sayers and Baker. Momentum was in my side as the road kicked up, allowing me to squeak by them and cross the line first.
Dana Williams lives in Mill Valley, CA.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NCNCA BOD Announces Junior Development Committee
The NCNCA Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the Junior Development Committee (Committee) members have been selected and the Committee is actively working. The Committee will focus on growth and advancement of junior racing here in our district. The Committee looks forward to actively working on:
The 2015 Junior Development Committee:
AJ Kennedy – NCNCA BOD and Committee Liaison
Vitaly Gashpar – Committee Chairman – SquadraSF pb Terun
Mike Sayers – Head Coach USAC U23 Development Program & Secretary SVVA Board of Directors
Paul Morel – San Jose Bike Club,
Elaine Ebner – Tieni Duro Junior Cycling,
Jared Ellison – Limitless Cycling,
Mark Cook – Team Swift
John Simmons – Team City