Poor College Kids Road Race: Women’s 1-3
by Kristabel “Tink” Doebel-Hickok (SPY/Giant)
With Helen’s, La Grange, and SC Velo all on the line with at least three racers per team, I knew the recently formed SPY GIANT RIDE team was going to need to function as a unit. For some of our racers, myself included, this was our first time racing with teammates. And for most of us, the hour before the race was our chance to meet for the first time. We kept our tactics simple and our excitement high.
The first lap was a modest pace, about 21 mph, with attacks that were quickly chased down. There was a strong wind that made it hard to believe that anyone really wanted to get away solo. The pack hit the relatively short (1.2 mile) climb pretty hard, but the group was still together after the first lap.
Coming out of the first turn on the second lap, the crosswind turned to a tailwind and the racers at the front hit it hard. I assumed we would all come out of the turn and hurry to catch back on, but I soon realized that some sort of break was forming. I checked to see that I didn’t have a teammate up the road and made my way to the front to start chasing. I looked back and saw at least a few people on my wheel, but they were not inclined to work because at least one had a teammate in the break. After chasing for a while longer, Suzanne told me something about letting someone else pull through and then jumping on that person’s wheel. After she helped me get back in I thought other riders were chasing with me. I took another pull, looked back, and I was alone. Ahead, Emily Georgeson and Holly Breck were chasing Julie Cutts and Amber Gaffney . I bridged up to Emily and Holly and told them to jump on my wheel in hopes that we could work together, but they didn’t have it in their legs to chase. I encouraged them, saying, “you just gotta believe,” but I ended up having to bridge up to Julie and Amber on my own. Emily yelled some encouraging words to me and I was on my way. Unfortunately, after pressing near my max for several minutes and hardly closing the gap, I realized I wasn’t going to make it up to them. I figured I’d better go back with Emily and Holly, but they were way back. With over 2.5 laps to go, I figured I had made a very big mistake by getting myself stranded in “Tink land,” a place I find myself too often! I thought through my options and decided that at that point I was essentially committed to a 1.5 hour time trial.
I spent the rest of lap 2 and all of the final two laps averaging about 22 mph and thinking of the many things that could keep my motivation up, including my teammates back in the pack that I trusted were doing their best to help me stay away. Julie and Amber crossed the line minutes ahead of me, but they were disqualified for drafting off the men’s field. Several minutes later, Emily and Holly finished. The gap between those two racers and the other finishers was a testament to the teamwork going on back in the pack.