The 3:20pm race start was a welcome change to the 7am start time from last week, however it meant that our San Diego contingent would all get stuck in traffic on the trip up to Orange County. Without any warmup and a quick pre-race meeting with Dominic of Incycle, Jenny, Trina, and Tammy lined up alongside me & Bea for the Ladera Ranch Grand Prix. We had a pretty good sized women’s field of 29 motivated ladies in the Women’s 1-2-3 race.
Despite having no warm-up, Jenny, Trina, and Tammy were very active during the beginning of the race. They all covered or initiated attacks during the first 10 minutes of the race. Not too much later, I covered a move and found myself in a break. Jenny bridged shortly after and were 8 riders with 2 SC Velo, PC and Suzanne from Helen’s, Charity from SBW, Hannah from Strive, Melina from Primal, and Jessica Cerra from JLVelo/Focus. We were later joined by Erin Gunn of Catalyst who bridged across. With the help fo the Helen’s and SC Velo teams controlling the main field, the break quickly gained time on the main field.
Since Jenny and I were together, I figured our best change for a team win would be for me to set her up. the goal was to get her in a good position and then lead her out, hopefully starting her sprint ahead of PC & Suzanne since both of them are good sprinters. I made my way up to the front going into the final lap.
I led the field around turn 1 and heard the horrible sound of bikes hitting the ground. I stayed looking forward for a while, not wanting to cause further issues, but after there was silence for a few seconds, I peeked back and saw daylight. There was nobody close to me at the moment. I got my focus back, and concentrated on the final three sides of the course. By the last turn, I could start to see Melina in the distance, but knew I had the win locked up. Melina Bernecker and Jessica Cerra rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively. Trina also showed great form by taking the field sprint!
This win was with mixed emotions. I’m happy & proud to have delivered a win for my team and our sponsors; it’s been a long time coming! Of course, this is not the way that I’d like to win a race I hate to see my teammate and competitors hit the ground. I’m happy to say that nobody was badly injured and they will all be back racing in no time!
When it came down to it, I was in the right position and luck was on my side. Thanks so much to our sponsors who have believed in us all season: Incycle, SC Velo, Cannondale, JL Velo, iRT, GU, & Smith Optics! Without their support, this all wouldn’t have been possible.