Tour de Murrieta
March 9-11, 2013
Emily Georgeson/Helen’s Cycles
1st Place Overall
I enter each race to improve as a team member and individual racer. The Tour de Murrieta would provide my richest learning experience yet. Representing Helen’s Cycles at TdM with me was: Suze Sonye, Priscilla Calderon (PC), Shelby Reynolds, Hayley Edwards, Michelle Ignash and Sarah Mattes.
Time Trial – 1st place:
Living in SoCal, any “weather” drives many of us cyclists indoors where we whine about the wet roads and cold conditions. Growing up in Wisconsin, I know this “weather” is really nothing to write home about, but, now that I am a SoCal cyclist I also wince at rain and 50 degree weather. The weather forecast for our time trial called for rain showers and hail, which I had mentally been preparing for. Upon arrival to Murrieta it was partly sunny, with dark clouds in the distance… will we have dry weather?
Warming up with the team on our trainers, it lightly begins to rain, then lightly hail. Well, this is what I prepared to race in, so GAME ON! As I step up to the line, I don’t even remember if it was raining, but it didn’t matter because I was ready to bring out my animal. I took off hard, maybe a little too hard, unable to fully reel myself in, I was in the zone. I knew there was a dirt climb on this course, but when I saw it I got really fired up. Drawing on my mountain and cyclocross racing knowledge, I kept the pressure on the pedals and used this rough road to drive me. Coming around a corner, I saw the finish line and got out of the saddle to give it my all to the line. Then shivering, I got out my high class garbage bag, stuck my head and arms through it and rolled back down the course with numb hands.
We leave the race without waiting for results. Back at the hotel, my teammates tell me I won. I was beyond ecstatic. Team Helen’s is defending the leader’s jersey!
Criterium – 2nd place:
I am typically a worker bee when we race crits, but today I was the protected one. The course was a fun 6 corner course; more interesting than the typical hypnosis inducing 4 corner course. My initial nervousness quickly turned to excitement as I observed my teammates working hard up front. No attacks were allowed to succeed, setting us up for the field sprint we wanted. Rolling into 3 laps to go, we start organizing ourselves to launch for the win. There were a few racers pushing to steal wheels from me, but I held tight to Suze’s wheel as we rounded the last corner and made the long effort to the line. I told Suze before the race, to go for the win and I would be on her wheel. We did just that, she brought me across the line for the Helen’s 1-2 punch.
Circuit Race – 2nd place:
Today the pressure is on. Team Helen’s goal was to protect the leader’s jersey, and of course, win the stage, there was more to lose than in any race in my life. An overall win would bring an invitation to the Nature Valley Grand Prix through the Pro Chase experience, an incredible development opportunity for me. In the first anxious two minutes, there was a crash leaving a number or riders out of the race. I was in a safe and supported position surrounded by my teammates. They pulled back riders up the road, protected me from the wind, moved me around the pack and asked how I felt and if I needed anything. Every lap, I studied the corners leading up to the finish line and kept in mind I wanted to be the first one through the final corner on the bell lap.
Again today, no breaks stay away. As the laps wind down, more racers are being pushed out of the front and the contenders are pushing for their spot. We got organized and started ramping it up rolling into the last punchy climb, about a mile from the finish line. Michelle started with a monster pull, followed by PC and as those two rolled off, jobs done. Suze took over, and I was on Shelby’s wheel. Suze rotated through with Shelby, as I let her come in front of me again. And there, Tracy Tilton makes her move, I am tempted to chase, but I stay engaged in our plan. Shelby drills it into the second to last corner, and Suze pulls through to ramp it up to the last corner where I have 10 bike lengths to make up on Tracy, I am closing fast. But, the finish line comes slightly too early and I come across the line inches short to take 2nd, securing my overall win with Suze in 2nd place overall. Nature Valley here I come!