By Sandra Freeman -- Snelling Road Race (P/1/2) -- 03/04/17

Most of our 1/2 squad started their season with Snelling Road Race on Saturday, March 4th, and for me it was my first race with the crew after recently receiving my Cat 2 upgrade. We were coming to the race with 9 teammates, and Emily Matheu served as our race director, making sure we had an organized plan of attack and that we were best utilizing the strengths of each of our racers.

As expected, Folsom Bike/Trek came out guns blazing pretty much as soon as we left the neutral roll out, with Sara Enders, Melanie Wong, and Sara Bird unleashing attack after attack. Amanda Siegle also followed up with some strong counter attacks throughout the first half of the race. We were on alert though and worked well as a squad making sure nothing threatening got away. Rikke, Furman, Kerry, Mary-Ellen, Allie, Ivy, and Emily did a huge amount of work in the early laps to keep the race under control. Of huge importance too, we were all communicating well and making sure we stayed on the same page as the race unfolded.

After four laps at a high pace and with pretty unrelenting attacks from Folsom, the race proved to be one of attrition, and Marissa and I were left in a group of about eight. The group worked together in a pace-line for a while, but by the time we hit the feed zone for the final time Folsom was back to attacking. In spite of that, Emily impressively managed to chase back on. Soon after she caught back on though there was another surge that caused her and Marissa to both get separated. However Emily buried herself one more time to help Marissa catch back on.

We'd just regrouped when soon thereafter Liz Otto Hamel from Folsom launched yet another attack with about 2k to go. Clare Sayle from Jakroo took up the chase. After the turn and once Liz was caught, there was a bit of cat and mouse. I went on instinct at that point and just popped out with about 300m to go and started to accelerate. With about 100m to go I got out of the saddle and drilled it, and I crossed the finish line still not seeing anyone by me! As soon as I crossed the line, I looked behind me and saw Melanie Wong rolling over the line in 2nd place, just after my back wheel had crossed the line. Only then did I let myself believe I had just won my first race as a Cat 2!

It felt incredible to win, but what really made it special was what an incredible team effort allowed that win to happen. From Rikke and Furman helping me with positioning early on, to Emily making sure we used our efforts wisely throughout, to Marissa keeping us focused in the final kilometers.... It was a day of really hard but really smart racing, and I was just beyond thrilled and honored to represent our entire team's efforts on the top step of the podium that day.