The Sea Otter Classic is so much more than the race itself. It's about the community: the companies that create our sport, support our journeys, and the people that make biking something I am honored to take part in. There is non-stop action. Events for every discipline going on all day every day, music, food, dancing, and well.... we raced our bikes fast too.
Friday morning came along and the racing began. On the start, a world class women's field stood ready to give it their all in the short track. This race would be 20minutes plus 3 laps. Not short, but not too long either. It was time to put the legs to the test once again. The whistle blew and it was full speed ahead. After making it around a lap with almost the entire field, a crash in the sand caused the group to split apart. I found myself once again in the third chase group with three other riders. Kate and Jenny were fighting for the win and a large group was not far behind, chasing to catch up. Lea and I spent lap after lap working to catch up with the pack right ahead of us. Boy did we get close, but as soon as they were in sight the two other riders in our group attacked, causing the four of us to separate. For a couple laps I became a lone wolf, chasing to catch back up to Lea. With half of a lap until the finish, another rider caught up to me. I was able to get on her wheel and follow her until the final climb, where I could see Lea not far ahead. I sprinted the other rider and caught up with Lea. We entered the finishing straight and I stood to sprint, looked over my right shoulder "where'd she go?" Shoot! Lea sprints past me on my left side. I laugh to myself and sprint to the finish, stoked on having such a fun battle with my teammate.
After checking out the venue, rapping at the Little Bellas lemonade social, and sharing some laughs with everyone at the Clif Pro Team Party that evening, we got back to the hotel for some final race day preparations.
Saturday morning rolled around and everyone had their game face on for the cross country. I took my spot on the third row of the start line, with a strong group of women surrounding me. When the whistle blew, we were off and directly into the first climb. After lap one, the field began to split apart into multiple groups. I found myself riding with five other riders for a couple laps with Lea chasing from behind. When she caught us she lifted the pace and my tired legs couldn't hang on. I settled into my own pace for the next lap, chasing to catch up with the group, but the long road sections were not in my favor. On the last lap I gave it my all, crossing the line in 14th. It was another fun day racing bikes and continuing to learn more about myself.
The day is completed once again with good times, Maghalie and Katka crush it in the cyclocross race and Clif Bar tops it off with great music, food, and people. Love it!
Next up I will be heading to Europe to race in my first U23 World Cups. I can't wait for this adventure and to see what I am capable of. Go time!
The team packed up after a busy week at team camp and arrived in San Dimas, CA for the second race of the season. This time with all eight of our athletes and all of us ready to kick some bootayyy!
Being my first season in the U23 category, there are so many times I question my strength, especially during a long winter of training. To start off the season with a strong race at Fontana, where I was able to truly give it my all and have fun doing it, was a huge boost in my confidence. It's motivating to know that the hard work is paying off and to move forward with motivation and improvements in mind. Going into Bonelli I knew the field would be larger and much more competitive, with international riders and more big names, but I was focused on myself and my own capabilities. I have nothing to lose and am ready to give it my all.
The course at Bonelli is quite demanding, with steep climbs and little rest it's easy to step right into the pain cave. On the start line I was towards the back of the pack, because I have very few UCI points, and could see the bright blue of the Clif Pro Team standing out among the rest of the field.
The whistle blew and the race was on! During the start loop I was able to slowly sneak my way forward and continued to do so during the first couple of steep climbs.
Once again I found my way into a group with my teammates and raced with them for a few laps laps. I fell off of their pace during the third lap and settled into my own. A very motivating aspect of racing in the elite category is that you can always see the riders right in front and behind you. This really allowed me to give my all in the final two laps, landing me in ninth place.
I could not be happier about how my form is feeling at this time of the season and am extremely motivated for what is ahead.
Phew!! Worn out after that one! Always fun to race with and learn from these ladies.
But the weekend wasn't over yet! It was time to rest up and prepare for the short track race on Sunday. The seven in blue dominated the field, so we planned a fun and exciting way to use our numbers as an advantage. 15minutes + 3 laps is far from easy and I was looking forward to see how the race would play out.
At the start I waited to be called up to the line... wait front row!?! Cool! Time to go wild and race bikes fast!
We took off from the line and the attacks began. Every time we reached the climb someone would sprint and for a few laps my goal was just to hang on. Soon a small group split into the lead and I settled in with the chase group. Our effort really tested the limits and I threw in a few attacks a too little early that wore me out before the finish. It was a thrilling race and great learning experience. I'm happy with 15th and looking forward to trying some new tactics next time.
The team will now part ways, but will soon join forces again at The Sea Otter Classic!
Andrea Waldis, Eva Lechner, Lea Davison, Maghalie Rochette, Hannah Finchamp, Katerina Nash, me, and Catharine Pendrel
Team camp entails non-stop action along with lots and lots of laughter. Couldn't be better! Especially with this incredible group of people.
This season the Clif Pro Team has eight athletes and one new member! Lea Davison! I am so excited to be on a team with these ladies and for all the good times to come.
The Clif Pro Team is family and my home away from home. The mechanics, managers, and athletes work together to make this team successfully run for it's sixteenth season. I am thankful to have all of these individuals in my life and am honored to be able to wear this kit. 2017 is going to be one of a kind with lessons to be learned and memories to be made. Let's go!
This team has the power, but we also greatly rely on the outstanding support of our partners to turn our dreams into reality. It's a privilege to use the best equipment available and to be surrounded by such a supportive community.
Next up is the Bonelli Park US Cup where the Clif Pro Team will finish up this amazing week.
When I landed in sunny California it seemed absolutely unreal that it was finally time to race my bike. I joined my teammates Eva, Andrea, Maghalie, and Hannah to kick off the 2017 season at the Fontana City US Cup. This would be my debut in the elite women category and I could hardly wait to test out my legs amid the dust and heat.
On Saturday, the morning breeze helped to cool the riders as we began our race preparations, but the temps were quickly rising. At the start, I stood among the field of familiar faces, waiting for the whistle to launch us off the line. That it did, and immediately all thoughts were left behind.
I was able to maneuver my way between riders and into the lead group. There were about six of us together in the front group after finishing the first lap and then the pack began to split. Kate and Rose were able to build a gap, but the blue train worked to chase them down. Eva, Maghalie, Andrea, and I put in a solid effort together for the majority of the race. It was insanely exciting for me to be racing in a group with my teammates and I could not have had more fun. Finishing in fifth place was a huge confidence boost and I can't wait to see what the rest of the season will hold!
I feel so lucky to be part of such an incredible team and can't wait for the many good times to come. On to team camp!