Following an abysmal 4 hours of restless sleep, Liz and I drove to the race in darkness. We met up with the others and begrudgingly started warming up for the TTT in the cold Santa Maria air. Katherine, Lilly, Lena, and I were racing in the A’s, and I was pretty sure I’d get dropped before the end of our lap. Katherine told me to take short pulls so I could hang on for as long as possible. As we lined up, I was a little nervous, as I didn’t want to let my teammates down. We rolled out and steadily increased the pace, my nerves calmed down and I focused on maintaining smooth exchanges in the paceline. Once I was able to calm down, I started having a blast working together with my awesome teammates, and before I knew it we were on the last few miles before the end. Coming around the last turn, I heard Katherine yelling for us to fan out and start our sprint to the finish. Lena shot around Lilly and me, with Katherine close behind. Lilly and I made our last push for the finish line, and we ended up taking 1st place against Stanford and UCLA! We also got to watch Liz and Tiffany finish strong in the C TTT and take 1st as well.
After some refueling (aka cookies) and a little rest, Lena and I warmed up with Liz and Tiffany for our B/C Road Race. I ended up getting distracted by some big turkey vultures on my warmup and almost missed the start time—oops. Luckily, Lena had my back and persuaded the race official to wait for me. I got to the start line, and Lena and I lead the pack on the rollout. We were going at a decent clip and it seemed like most of the group was staying together, but whenever we made someone else take a pull, the pace would slow to about 12 mph. We got bored with the coffee ride pace and decided to attack on the first climb. After hammering for about a minute, we looked back and saw a few girls trying to chase us. We buckled down and worked together to further our lead, and a few minutes later, a race official came by and told us the chase group was 50 seconds behind us. Not wanting to relax too soon, we kept pushing…and the chase group kept getting farther behind us. Lena and I took 1-2 with more than a 2 minute lead.
We were all anxious about what the weather had in store for us. Men’s C started off dry, but the rain started before their race finished. When it was time for the Women’s B/C race, the course was soaked and it was raining harder and harder. Lena and I strategized a bit. The goals were: 1) don’t crash, and 2) win. We wanted to sit in for a couple laps and attack after a prime when the other riders were tired. Then Liz and Tiffany would try to sit on the pace and prevent the pack from bridging with us.
Well, once we started, Lena flatly stated “I’m cold” and took off—so much for planning. I went with her, and one other girl from Berkeley followed. Lena and I took turns doing exchanges, and when we looked back we saw Tiff trying to catch up with us. She got on one of our wheels and said she was surprised no one else tried to chase, but she was feeling strong and wanted to stay up front with us. Lena and I convinced the Berkeley girl to take a pull, and that tired her out, so she dropped back. Both Lena and I kept switching off with Tiff taking 3rd wheel. We got all the primes and lapped the field. Coming around to the last lap, Tiff was still feeling strong, and we decided to do a lead out for the sprint. After the last turn, I ramped up the pace and pulled off, then Lena did the same, and Tiff got to sprint across the finish for her first win! UCSD got 1-2-3 overall for B/C, and Liz got her first podium finish as well, getting 3rd in the C’s.