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2015 Team Announcement

As I enter my fifth season of racing I am excited to announce that it will be my first at the Pro level. I will be racing with Hedrick Women's Racing p/b Novatec in 2015. 

Check out my bio below and my new team!

My approach to racing mirrors the way I strive to live my life; with a desire to learn and and a willingness to listen. 

In 2010 my parents forced me on a bike ride in Hershey, PA. I was a pain (and punk) about it - I wouldn't even wear a helmet.  We had such a great time riding I immediately bought a bike when I returned to Oakland where I live now. A few century rides, 2 bikes and 70 lbs lost later, I decided to give racing a try. Throughout these past few years, racing has helped me maintain and regulate my health and get out and adventure all over the Bay Area (and beyond). I'm lucky to be able to fit in my training rides on my commute to work at Pandora Radio. I'm looking forward to the 2015 season and a great year with the Hedrick Women's Racing p/b Novatec team.


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2014 Oakland Grand Prix / NCNCA District Championships

PRE-RACE
I had decided not to do this race back in August, stating that the Red Kite Crit Finale was going to be my last race. I was tired from a long season and had a lot going on personally. My race buddy and one of my biggest competitors, Jeanette, convinced me to do the race and go for the championship. I knew the route because the course goes around my office at Pandora. So I decided to go for it since it was a hometown race for me. 

It was interesting coming into a race with 2+ weeks of "rest". I was one of three women that pre-reg'd. Knowing that the reg was low, changed how I approached the race. My normal strategy is to hide and sprint for the win. With a smaller field, I had to mentally prepare to be isolated and work. Its rare that I come into a race ready to thrown down a gauntlet, but thats what my plan was. I convinced myself that I was going to animate the race and go big. Based on other technical courses I plotted out my spots to attack. (up the hill before the hairpin, on the straight away before the chicane)...

RACE
I was happy to see more women at the line that the pre-reg list, especially some of the local pros. Mary Maroon, Marissa, Sofi, Kim, Laurel, Martina...I was glad I was prepared to work. There was an attack on the first lap and stayed away for few laps. I didn't want to go out too early, so I let others chase the racer. Then a few laps in, I attacked on the long straight away. I wanted to test the legs and get the field moving. I let off the gas after the hairpin and caught my breath. 

I stayed patient and tucked myself behind Mary. Two laps later, I sensed Mary was going to go. I jumped with her and we were off. We rotated for a little bit, she instructed me to blow right through the lead group which is what we did. The lead group jumped on our wheels and we started to rotate. Unfortunately, our break away feel apart quickly and we were caught. I kept myself near the front and would apply pressure when I sensed the field slowing.

With about 10-11 laps to go, there was another attack coming through the start/finish. The field caught her on the slight hill on the backside of the course. I was unfortunately coming up behind the racer as she was slowing significantly. I glanced left and saw an opening so I subtly moved left so I wouldn't have to break or ram into her. Unfortunately at the same time I was doing that another rider was trying to put herself in the same spot. We bumped into each other and just couldn't keep it up. We both went down pretty hard. To be honest, I'm not sure who was at fault for the crash. We were both trying to wedge ourselves into the same spot. I feel bad that she went down and wasn't able to finish the race. I checked myself out and my bike and decided to get back in. To be honest, if my girlfriend, Arriel, wasn't there watching I'm not sure I would have gotten back in.

I rolled to the pit in a substantial amount of pain and got back in the race with 8 laps to go. While I was waiting the announcer said that the field seemed to have let off the gas in order to let the riders involved with the crash back in. I'm not sure if it is true, but if it is, I appreciate that they respected me that much to do so. I took a lap or two to settle back in. Every pedal stoke hurt, but I stuck with it. I stayed towards the front, went with the the attacks and committed to finishing the race. 

With 2 laps to go, Mary, Laurel, and Martina attacked. I went with them, just hanging on. With one lap to go, they slowed up on the back side. Laurel attacked and had a small gap. I stayed on Mary's wheel until we were close to Laurel. Then I countered, right at the spot I wanted. I jumped on the straight away right before the chicane. I took the left as tight as I could to maintain my gap. Then I did the same with the right turn and blasted up the hill to the finish as fast as I could. And, I won!!!!  

As weird as it sounds, I think crashing in the race was a good thing. Mentally, I was able to commit to taking a chance and attacking on the last lap because no one expected me to win. It took some of the pressure off. Anyway, it was a nice way to win a race and a great way to wrap the season.

Looking forward to some mellow rides and a visit to the doctor.

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2014 Amgen Tour of California Race

PREP
After a hard weekend of racing at the Golden State series, I was feeling better prepared for the TOC race. Coach had me on a pretty tough week of training this week since I am off work. I decided to back off a little bit so I wasn't going into the weekend tired. I think this was a good idea! On Friday, I went out for a short spin just the keep the legs fresh and cleaned my bike (I didn't want the team mechanic to think I was messy) before heading to Sacramento. Then, it was feet up until bedtime. 

SATURDAY
On Saturday I met the team at the hotel to pick up my gear and meet the team. The team mechanic put some sick iRT wheels on my bike and gave it a quick tune up. Then we rode to the state capitol for a team photo shoot. The photo shoot was fun and seemed a little silly since we were a composite team and only racing together for the weekend. But, it was fun. :) During the shoot I did my best to keep off my feet and out of the sun. 

Here's my favorite shot so far from the team photo shoot. The bike was blown over for the wind. I love how each of us have a different expression. :)

After the shoot, we went for an 1.5hr ride on the bike trails in Sacramento. I made sure to do a few extra leg openers than normal since there wasn't much time for a warm up on race day. Once we finished the ride, I got myself back to Stephanie's house as quickly as possible. I showered, put on my compression tights and put my feet up. Stephanie was a great host and made me a wonder steak dinner with a little gluten free dessert. :) Then it was hours on the sofa before bed time.

SUNDAY - RACE DAY
I woke up in a slight state of panic. I was thinking, oh crap it's race day! This is actually happening! I got myself showered, packed and fed before heading out to meet the team. Parking was limited, so I met the girls at their hotel and rode to the team tent (about 10 mins). When we got there our DS, Haldane, got our bikes to the mechanic and made sure we had everything we needed. This was actually kind of fun, not having to do any of the prep work for the race. The tent was also in a great spot, we got to watch the Sky team and a few other teams head out to the start since our tent was in front of their buses.

We ran through the schedule for the morning:
9:00am: Eat something! haha
10:30am: Team Meeting
11:10am: Sign In
11:20am: Team Presentations/Interviews
11:50am: Staging
12:00pm: Go go go go go!

With all that was scheduled leading up the race, I pretty much tossed the warm up out the window. I knew this was risky, but I felt like if I warmed up and then sat around for 2 hours I would have felt worse. 

At the team meeting, Haldane gave us our marching orders. Pretty simple stuff. Line up towards the front, get to the front of the field fast, and if something goes, go with it. He basically told us, he would rather us race aggressive and blow up over us be passive and hang in. This actually made me feel a lot less nervous. At this point I reminded myself that I was here to race my bike, not to roll around in circles. Go big or go home! So, I went to the line with that running through my head.

After the team meeting, I had a little time before having to sign in and do the presentations. I found a vacant parking lot and spun around a bit. I got to watch the mens start as the rolled by, so that was cool! 

Around 11:00am I headed over to the start line to sign into the race. I'm not sure the point of this or what the boards with the signatures will be used for, but what ever. I was super thankful that I didn't get asked any questions during the team presentation. I had enough running through my mind already to have to work about public speaking! Once we were off the stage we got to pre-ride the course. I took a couple laps and tried to get my heart rate up. I knew the race was going to start fast, so I didn't want my body to be in complete shock. Once I did that, I rolled over to the staging area and lined up first row. After the roll up to the line and pro callouts, I ended up 3rd row for the start. Not ideal, but it could have been worse! At this point, I was like holy f'in s**t! I am surrounded by amazing athletes! 

The gun went off and there was an attack off the line! Thankfully I was able to clip in right away. I got myself up to speed and tucked onto a wheel right away. Oh hey Mara Abbott, I'll ride your wheel! I followed Mara through the first lap. I figured I'd stay put for a lap or two to let my legs open up. Big mistake! On the second lap there was a huge pile up going into corner 3. I was able to track stand it, wiggle my way around it and catch back onto the main field. That was not without burning a few matches. Then in lap 4 or 5, there was another pile up as we were coming through the start / finish. Again, I was able to avoid it and keep going. Only this time, I was going into a lovely headwind and had no one in sight to help me catch back on. I dug deep and solo'd a lap or so trying to get onto the main field. Finally I saw a group coming up behind me. I let off the gas and integrated with the chase group. I caught my breathe and checked my computer. We were going 25 mph. The main field was going 28 - 30 mph. I rolled up along side of the group of 20 or so women and barked "do you want to catch them or get pulled?!?!?!". I knew I couldn't do it alone, so I got them working in a rotating pace line. We had the gap down to 10 seconds, but then things just fell apart. I tried to go with an attack to get to the main field, but that didn't work either. 30 minutes into the race the officials pulled the group of 20+ women I was in. 

The cornering in this race was atrocious for the record, the roads were wide and smooth. There was no need for breaking or any of the crashes that happened. 

The sum this up, I was totally bummed that I didn't get to finish the race. From a fitness standpoint, I felt like I could have stayed with the main field if I had only positioned myself better and/or not had to have avoided the crashes. It made me feel a little better when I saw the company I was with when we were pulled. It wasn't just the local NorCal teams, but a lot of the pro women as well. I felt like I did what I could. The only thing I would change would have been taking a free lap after avoiding the crashes instead of chasing. But, that thought never crossed my mind in the chaos of the race. Newbie mistake that I will never make again!

It was probably for the best, there were a number of crashes after I got out of the race. Out of the 6 women on my team, 2 were pulled, 3 were crashed out, and 1 finished with the main field. Crazy day! 

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