I will be the first to say that having a positive attitude is essential in achieving goals, but after my season last year I also learned to balance that zest with realistic expectations. Coming into Redlands Bicycle Classic this year I wanted more than anything to make it past stage three (that monstrous Yucaipa circuit and Oak Glen climb) because a) it is just straight up treacherous and b) that is where I got time cut last year after getting dropped on the first climb of the first lap.
On the line I knew I had a battle head of me. Popping some Cliff Shot Blocks, and making some last minute eye contact with me teammates, the gun went off. 100+ aggressive biker chicks took to the blazing fast descent that lead us through twisting orchard roads, past the feed zone, and up the long drag climb that would set the pace for the three laps to follow. I managed to eat real food and drink water in the first 50km, a personal victory as I am usually on the rivet unable to simply reach for my water. Lap three brought a QOM sprint that shattered the pack, including teammate Kinley and I, leaving us with no option but to weave our way through the caravan gasping for air like a fish out of water. We managed to bridge the gap back onto the pack for the last circuit lap (another personal victory as I have been popped many times before but never managed to get back on). I was so far inside out at this point that all I knew was that it couldn't hurt more than it was so I may as well just keep pedalling.
After missing water in the feed zone the last two laps I was more motivated than ever to get my lonesome self up that final Oak Glen climb, make the time cut and get water. I must have repeated ‘water water water’ over a 1000 times as I turned the cranks up the hill. At this point I was searching for every watt I could and was beyond thankful for my Trek Emonda and Louis Garneau Le Course helmet, both of which can make a flat out exhausted bike rider still feel (or at least pretend) like they have World Tour climber legs.
I managed to pass a few girls (and guys) on the climb, make the time cut, and drench myself in water that has never tasted so good. Huge thank you to our DS Evan and Brad, Leah’s Mom and Dad, and a huge shout out to our Host House Parents Ron and Peggy who were there every single step of the way this week with endless cheers, hot dinners, cold water, and those ever delicious RedVine candies!
My last words of wisdom before Oak Glen was to “make it hurt so good” and I feel confidence in reporting that, thanks to the support of everyone behind Trek Red Truck, I was able to do just that. Stage three hurt oh so good, but I exceeded my own expectations and road to live another day at the 32nd Annual Redlands Bicycle Classic p/b the San Manuel Band Of Mission Indians.