UCLA RR #WSWC
BY: Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (SPY/GIANT)
Last year, the UCLA RR was a beautiful disaster. Freezing, setting tempo on the front all day, caught and dropped on descents, passed by a follow vehicle, hitting cones, and winning. Winning the 3/4 race, and really proud of it. This year, I was in the Pro 1/2/3 field and knew I wouldn’t get away with any of that.
When I arrived this year, the chill was burning off and my body was fully awake. I pulled up to the Darley’s RV knowing that Todd would have me all taken care of just as he did last year. I warmed up and chatted with my teammates about race strategy while keeping in mind Ron’s advice. Soon enough the race was off and I was smiling and chatting without a worry to be had for at least a lap.
We put our team plan into action starting with the first climb where Kirsten and Debbie set the tempo. Kirsten attacked leading into the descent, making others chase. When Kirsten was caught, Debbie counter-attacked twice to make racers chase yet again. On Fort Tejon (rollers after the descent), after a number of attacks by Spy, Caitlin attacked and got away with a NOW and Novartis for MS racer. The two headed into lap 2 working together until the main climb where the NOW rider dropped back and Caitlin hammered on alone. The pack caught Caitlin on the descent while I was sitting on wheels and resting my very happy legs.
At the end of lap 2, I got in a break with Katy Donovan (NOW). We weren’t sure if the break would stick, although we seemed to be widening the gap on the main climb on lap 3. I heard Caitlin yell, “GO TINK,” encouraging me to work to make the break hold. Katy and I held a steady tempo up the climb, and then took turns on the descent because we knew the pack would have a big advantage over us on this part of the course. We again climbed at a steady tempo for the remainder of lap 3 and main climb on the fourth and final lap. We started taking pulls on the descent and were soon informed that we had 5 minutes on the chase pack. At that point, I went into a tuck and didn’t pedal until the base of the descent where I started to spin to loosen up my legs.
I didn’t want to leave it down to the last few minutes, but I also didn’t want to trash my legs before I really needed them. On Fort Tejon, I did several short attacks. Then Katy attacked and I followed, hoping on her wheel. Turning onto the final climb, I started to press the pace and Katy followed. With 400 to go, I attacked and sensed that she was following but not threatening to pass me. With 200 to go, I attacked again and rode hard to the line for the win.