Vanderkitten Team for San Rafael Twilight
I arrived at San Rafael, happy and feeling ready to go and race with my Vanderkitten teammates. I unfortunately hadn’t raced with them much this year due to racing with the National Team in the spring and then again for the Giro Rosa.
We had a strong team for SRT and I was excited about our chances. Break away or field sprint, I trusted that we had a strong enough team to be able to play it both ways. It’s always such a nice feeling to go into a race with the ability to play that way. We love to race our bikes and race hard. The race was 75 minutes long, it is a slightly longer crit than we are used to. Knowing that, we spent the first part of the race following moves more than creating them to avoid killing ourselves and having nothing left for the end (something I am very talented at!).
As I have been getting older I’ve been starting to notice things a little more. Maybe it’s the fact that I am now strong enough to attack multiple times. Or maybe it’s because I have a bit more experience and I pay more attention, opposed to just thinking “OMG ATTACKKKKK AGAIN!!!!” then coming away with 4th place or 6th (generally right off the podium). But I started to notice the difference in how my legs felt between attacks. Then it clicked in my head that if I continue to attack at full out sprint speed I probably won’t have my best sprint for the end. Only took me 4 years to realise this, learn from me ladies, or laugh at me for being silly.
My teammates were doing an awesome job attacking and following moves. Whenever I even thought “ok now is a time to go”, one of my teammates would then attack. I had to shout “I’m on it!” just so I got a turn to follow moves! It was so awesome! You could tell after about three quarters of the way through the race nothing was going to stick. There were attacks going all the time, but sometimes breaks just always come back. I was aware of this and trying not to do too much so I could be as prepared for the sprint as possible. Then, I attacked…Why? I don’t really remember. Probably felt like a good time and attacking is just what I do. This is with about 12 laps to go. A MetroMint rider (forgive me MetroMint I don’t think I had met her and don’t know her name!) came across to me and we had a few laps off the front together. We got caught again with about 9 laps to go. “Alright now, time to save it Ruth.” I said to myself as I got swallowed by the pack.
My teammates still did a great job of covering moves for the remaining laps. Ali Tetrick attacked with 3 to go Emily got right on it and brought her back. With 2 laps to go I found myself 2nd wheel behind Elle. Elle rode almost the whole last two laps on the front. It’s safe to say our lead out train was a bit of a disaster or nonexistent, either word would work. Right before the second to last turn Martina Patella took up the roll of leading the field out. Martina, Flavia Oliveira, Olivia Dillion, and the winner Kimberly Wells came past me. I jumped to get into the mix with them. This is the part of a race I can never remember, at this point I’m just going, not thinking. If this is right, Olivia Dillion jumped first around the last turn, I jumped on her wheel, then pulled out from behind her when I wanted to start my sprint. My sprint felt uncomfortable, I think I shifted twice, it was an unfortunate feeling, I got out sprinted fair and square by Kimberly.
It was a super fun race, it always is, and I love seeing progression! I first raced it in 2010 when Kat Carroll won solo, I was dropped. Last year I came 4th. This year and in my first actual sprint of the year to come away with 2nd isn’t so bad! 1st would have been awesome and I wanted to win so badly, but the great thing about bike racing is there is always another one. Thank you Vanderkitten teammates for a great race!
Congratulations to Kimberly Wells on the win!