The team time trial was a 12-mile out and back along the course of the road race. Myself, Esther and Holly made up the Women’s A team, and Rachel and Lily made a Women’s B team. Unfortunately only two men (Justin and Ben) made the trip, which wasn’t enough to field a men’s TTT team. Esther, Holly and I talked about starting conservatively because we knew the course got hilly near the turn-around. But on the way out we had a nice tail wind and slight downhill, and found ourselves rolling along close to 30mph. We soon caught the Davis team, who had started a minute before us. As soon as the hills started it got tougher. Holly did a great job staying on our wheels and we made it through the hilly part, only to hit a big headwind on the way back. It was tough but we kept our efforts high. We were happy to learn after we finished that not only had we won the women’s A race, but Rachel and Lily had won their B race (and would have placed second if they had been an A team).
Only 9 women started the 63 mile road race for the women’s A field: four from Stanford, one Cal, one Davis, and three of us from UC San Diego. The course was three laps, with an approximately 1.5 mile stretch of gravel mid-lap and a few short but steep hills scattered throughout. The first lap was uneventful until we hit the gravel section, where Grace from Stanford picked up the pace. Looking back when we exited the gravel I saw that we had dropped Holly. The lap continued at a steadier pace, although Grace would ramp up the pace a bit every time we hit a hill.
By the start of the second lap people were getting antsy, and a few attacks were made. Esther and I knew Grace was the one to watch, so we let the others chase them down. At one point a Stanford girl attacked and got away for a while. No one seemed to want to chase her immediately, until for some reason another Stanford girl decided to attack as well and chase her down. The second time through the gravel Grace again went to the front and pushed the pace. When we got back to pavement I saw that we had dropped the Cal and Davis girls and a Stanford girl. So now it was three Sanford versus two UC San Diego. On our way back to the start/finish we dropped one more Stanford girl.
As we began the third and final lap we settled into even rotations between the four of us. Esther and I could tell the second Stanford girl was hurting, so we tried to push the pace – as we hit the hills again she dropped off. Coming into the gravel for the final time it was just the three of us – Grace, Esther and me, and I started focusing on saving my energy for a final sprint. Then, two thirds of the way through the gravel, Grace flatted. As she stopped to wait for a new wheel, Esther and I asked each other what the proper etiquette was – should we wait and soft pedal, or take advantage of the opportunity to push the pace and stay away from her? We were both thinking it wouldn’t feel right if we ended up winning this way, and we kept the pace easy for a while. Sure enough, Grace caught back on just before the hilly section. She seemed happy to take the lead for the final few miles. Finally we hit the final climb to the finish. Esther and Grace stood up to sprint. I tried to split the gap between them but there wasn’t enough room and I bumped Grace a little. As the road flattened out I tried to put down some final power, but it wasn’t quite enough to pass Grace – I finished second by about a wheel length, and Esther was third behind me.
The Crit course was very short (less than half a mile), with a noticeable hill in the finish stretch. Today there was a new Stanford girl, Liz, who hadn’t been in the road race, who Esther and I knew to watch out for. The pace started quickly, and much like the road race, Grace was on the front pushing the pace right away. I was in second position on her wheel for the first few laps. After a while a looked around and noticed there were only four of us left in the front pack – me and Esther from UC San Diego, and Grace and Liz from Stanford. As the pace slowed down, coach pat yelled that if we weren’t careful another Stanford girl might catch back up. So Esther and I put in a few attacks, hoping to keep the pace up, catch the other two off guard and tire them out. Grace and Liz threw in a few counter attacks, but nobody really got away. Finally it was the final lap, and Liz attacked again. Esther and I followed, and were on her wheel by the bottom turn. As we approached the final turn, some lapped riders forced us to take an outside line, but we made our way through them. We all sprinted up the final hill to the finish, Esther and Liz neck and neck with me on their wheels. After we crossed the line the spectators congratulated Esther on her win – even the Stanford coach. But the race official made the call in favor of Liz. We were pretty disappointed, especially because the finish line camera had been set up so not all of Esther’s bike was in view. But it was a fun and exciting race overall.