Living in Pasadena, San Dimas is one of the most local races to me all season, yet despite two attempts (once in the 3/4 and once in the 1/2/3) I had yet to ever finish this race. The first time I attempted as a 3/4 (before the field was cut), I was dropped on the road race, and got lost on course, thus getting time cut for the crit. Last year, I managed to make it through the stormy road race, but got pulled less than half way into the crit. This year, I really wanted to finish the race.
Our title sponsor, SC Velo promotes SDSR, and it is our goal to do them proud and represent in the pro women’s field!
SCVelo SDSR Team: Me (Becky), Bea, Holly, Jenny, Lisa, Pam
Stage 1: Time Trial
This hill climb time trial course was lengthened this year to 4.25 miles up Glendora Mountain Road. Lisa came out on top for our team, with an strong ride in 30th place (we are competing against some of the best riders in the world!). The rest of us didn’t have stellar time trial results, but were more focused on the road race to come in stage 2 which is known to be extremely grueling. While I was disappointed with my own performance in the time trial, my primary goals for this race involved stages 2 and 3.
Stage 2: Circuit Race
While the circuit around Bonelli Park doesn’t have any long extended climbs, the QOM up Cannon is known to shatter the field. Between a QOM on the even laps and Sprint points on the odd laps (we do 8 laps in total), this race can get quite animated. During the first lap, there was an unfortunate crash that took down a number of riders, including 1st place (Mara Abbott) and 3rd place (Tayler Wiles). Luckily, all of SC Velo safely made it through. After the field realized that the race leader was gone, the big teams got together and decided to slow it down and get Mara back on (or at least find out more information on her state). I also noticed some local riders missing like Emily Georgeson (Helen’s) and figured they’d been involved in this crash as well.
Mara got back on with the help of her Exergy teammates, as did Tayler. This was before the first QOM, which is when the race really began. The next few laps were pretty hard. It’s important to remember to eat & drink during a tough race like this. I went through 4 GUs, 2 bottles of GU Brew and 1 bottle of water (Thanks to support from friends & family in the feed zone!). I took it lap by lap and tried to recover between efforts. Jenny suffered a mechanical and had to pull out of the race. Holly & I remained in the main field and kept encouraging each other despite the difficulty. As we approached the final climb of the race, I knew fireworks were about to go off. I hung on as best I could, and finished the race just 20 seconds behind the leaders in 28th, and shortly behind Holly in 22rd. The race officials decided not to enforce the 5% time cut, so all riders that finished the day were eligible to race the crit.
After the race, we all had our GU brew recovery, since Sunday’s race would be another difficult one and we would need as fresh legs as possible!
Stage 3: Criterium
After getting through the road race, I really wanted to finish the crit. It was where I got pulled from the race last year. I find positioning to be my biggest challenge in the higher level races, and once I get to the back it can be challenging to move back up. I am lucky to have teammates like Bea and Pam who have done a lot of NRC (& European) racing and are really incredible with navigating the field.
Towards the beginning, I tried to make sure I was up with them, and felt pretty comfortable. As some riders began to drop, and I lost a few positions, I found myself farther back. There is less drafting and more of an elastic effect back there & I struggled. Mid-race, I managed to move up a little bit and got more confortable only to drift back again with about five laps to go. Fortunately, I was able to put my head down and make it through the race, achieving my personal goal of finishing SDSR for the first time ever. Our new Incycle Cannondale Evos performed amazingly well; Stiff for climbing and corner so smoothly. On a course with so many turns, it makes a huge difference!
Holly & Pam finished t he crit in 23rd and 24th. Lisa was 39th, and myself 42nd.
Holly & I finished 32nd and 33rd respectively in GC. Lisa was 37th and Pam 44th.
I’m so lucky to have found a great team this year that is supportive before, after and during races– both when things go well and when they don’t! We’re extremely fortunate to have great sponsors that support us in our racing as well!