Poor College Kids Road Race
by Holly Breck
Poor College Kids Road Race for 2013 was a new course in Santa Maria on some farm roads that are actually quite nice, all things considered. This year, the women’s 1-3 field took off at 12:05, just after the masters’ race, and it has to be the biggest turn out for a local women’s race that I have seen since I started racing, which hasn’t been that long, but it was still exciting. Thankfully the weather was great; about 65 degrees and sunny with partial cloud cover.
The wind was another story. It blew like a smokestack. With the race being 4 laps of 12 miles loops, I knew this was going to be a long day in the wind So the race took off with a good group from Helen’s, La Grange, our team (SC Velo Incycle), and a mix of others. The first lap was pretty consistent, a few jumps here and there but nothing too serious. When we hit the climb on Daminion, I was second wheel to Amber Gaffney. I knew she was strong, ‘cause I had ridden with her before, but on the first lap I figured I’d try to stay up front so I didn’t get popped out the back. Well, even the first lap was faster then what I thought it would be but I managed to make it over the hill.
As I recovered going down the back side, I noticed some of the stronger riders moving up towards the front so I quickly drank some GU and water and started to move up as well. As we reached the end of the start/finish stretch where it made the right onto Foxen, Amber Gaffney and Julie Cutts from La Grange attacked, taking Emily from Helen’s with them. My teammate Becky tried bridging up to them seconds later, but she didn’t quite make it so our team went to the front and started to try to bring that move back. Lea Adams, manager of SC Velo, did a great job of it with Suzanne Sonye and me on her wheel. We got about 30 seconds from the break and I noticed the pace starting to slow. As soon as that happened I attacked off the side to try to bridge to the break, taking Kristabell from Spy with me. We started to work together and that’s when I noticed Emily from Helen’s fall off the break.
Seeing Emily up ahead made me work that much harder. We caught Emily, so I grabbed her wheel, trying to recover a bit as Kristabell took the front to pull through. I started to crack and I tried as hard as I could to stay with Kristabell, but neither Emily nor I had the strength to stick on the move.
Kristabell tried bridging solo, but she never made it all the way.
Amber and Julie had a gap on the field of about two minutes. Kristabell was thirty seconds behind them. Emily and I were about a minute ahead of the pack. We worked our butts off trying to close the gap, but by the end of the 3rd lap they already had four minutes on us. I had been out in the wind with one other person just about all day, almost out of water and GE Roctane, and with nothing to eat I told Emily, “man, after all this work I hope we don’t get caught!”
We continued on for the last lap, swapping pulls, and made it up and over the climb for the last time. It felt like I was going 2mph up the damn thing and I kept looking back to see if the pack was coming but I didn’t see them so I had a great feeling that we weren’t going to get caught and that my awesome teammates where in the pack helping me out. I pulled us down the last hill and with about 200 meters to go we sprinted for the line. We both threw our bikes at the line but I got Emily by a hair’s breadth. Crossing the line for 4th I was never so happy to be done with a race. I was, needless to say, “pooped.” The real results went: 1st–Julie Cutts, 2nd–Amber Gaffney, 3rd–Kristabell, 4th–Me, and 5th–Emily Georgeson. Unfortantely for Julie and Amber, they got disqualified for drafting off of the men’s pro field when they where passing them on one of the laps. All in all everyone did great and I can’t thank SC Velo InCycle Cannondale enough.