The Redlands Bicycle Classic is arguably one of the toughest races on the Trek Red Truck calendar, and the five grueling stages always bring out a top-tier woman’s field. This year, eight TRT women lined up with some 120 starters to tackle the California hills in rain, shine, and everything in between.
There’s no easing in to the RBC. Right off the bat, you’re hit with the Highland Circuit Race – 14 laps of a 4.5km circuit. Sure, it sounds straightforward enough…until you factor in the steep vertical climb that dominates the course, the nine twists and turns that send you flying through residential streets, and the intermittent QOM and sprint laps.
The race became very fast from the gun, with the many strong women’s teams all fighting for position and points up the hill. The pack would break up substantially up the climb, and those who couldn’t make the cut found themselves chasing hard and railing corners to catch back on. Anyone savvy enough to catch up through the corners would arrive just in time... for the next climb to start. With nine laps to go, Suzanne and I found ourselves in this very situation - popped from the main pack, along with a group of about a dozen others. Of course, giving up just isn’t in the TRT mindset – we fought hard until the end, with Suz climbing like a rockstar and me finding my legs in the flat twists and turns. A course like this has a bit of everything, which made it the perfect course to test the limits of my new Trek bike. Whether it’s hitting corners at top speed or responding to moves up a climb, it performs beautifully – I can’t wait to race it again!
Suzanne and I definitely met our personal goals for this race, but it was our three teammates – Gillian, Sara, and Leah – who really stole the show. All three stayed with the group until the very end, with Leah and Sara both scoring top twenty finishes. Meanwhile, Gillian was in the top 30 and the second amateur rider across the line – incredibly impressive for her first year elite. Keep your eye on her this season and in years to come, she’s a powerhouse with a big future!
The TRT women are a force to be reckoned with this year, and Redlands was just the beginning. Of course, none of us would be out there crushing it without our generous sponsors. A big thanks to them for supporting TRT and making it all possible!