Team TIBCO took on downtown Burlingame by storm yesterday. For those of you who missed the hot action on the crowded streets just south of the SF, 7 TIBCO riders were represented at the Downtown Burlingame Criterium.
Why were we there instead of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix? Simple. Races close to home are a good opportunity to practice our team tactics in a competitive, yet forgiving environment as well as providing an opportunity for our sponsors to see us race locally. Our sponsors provide us with so much support, and it is fun to show them how we can compete and race. They send us all over the world to race, yet it is good for them to be able to witness our form in their own backyard. Some of our sponsors met in Woodside, and rode up to the race. It was great to see them there. Their dedication to the sport and to us is truly inspiring.
Back to the basics. Burlingame Criterium. Very short race. 40 minutes on a .7 mile course through the streets of downtown Burlingame. The course was slightly technical, but was a great downtown crit route complete with trendy boutiques, brunch stops, and two Peet’s Coffee and Tea stores on course. You couldn’t ask for much more. We were already spending our race winnings as we glanced at all the stores. TIBCO and LOOK had a tent in the expo for us to warm-up in and it was expertly located right at the Start/Finish line. Steve, our mechanic, and to get to the site at 6am to secure that spot, and we loved him for it. The posters were up, the chairs were out. So pro.
Roster was—Emma, AFR, Brooke, Kiwi, ARo, Kat, and myself. Game plan—World Domination. If not world domination, at least Burlingame domination. Our sponsors were there, are fans were there, it was game on, show on, and action. My main mission of the day—stay in the front 5 riders, and stay there. Or else. Believe me, I was nervous about this assignment. Tell me to attack, tell me to cover, great. But tell me to maintain position? Yikes.
The race was short, and we needed to go hard from the gun. The gun goes off, and in this case, it was a literal single-shell shotgun to start the race. Wow, that was loud. ARo took off and was solo for a lap. From then on out, there was complete carnage ensuing. Multiple attacks and covering. As I watched the race develop, from a very good vantage point of directly behind Kat’s wheel in 5th position, all I could think about was watching flies swarm honey. No rider could get away without a TIBCO rider on her wheel. As soon as she was caught, we would counter. Flawless racing. I focused on my position, and every once in awhile I would notice Kat glance back to make sure I was still there. I rode up alongside of her in the wind, and she told me to get back on her wheel. This was hard work.
As the attacks and counters continued, the momentum was with us, and at one point, we caught a break and Brooke told me to attack. So, I did. I attacked, and went. I formed a gap and kept putting out the power to maintain the gap. My gap on the peloton was 20 seconds, 12 laps to go. I kept it constant, kept it steady. All I could think about was that I was hoping that Brooke told Kat that I was “allowed” to attack. I was at the right place at the right time, and was told to go, but that wasn’t my original assignment. It wasn’t until I saw Linda leaning over the fence as far as she could, and screaming at me to go for it. With 6 laps to go, Shelly Olds initiated a chase and ARo and Kat jumped on her wheel. I kept the gap, and ended up winning the race. Kat attacked Shelly into the final stretch and took 2nd. Brooke won the field sprint for 4th, with AFR finishing 6th. Team TIBCO took 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th. If that isn’t world domination, I don’t know what is. I was once again reminded of how great it is to race for such an amazing team. Yes, I was solo for 15 laps of the crit, but it wasn’t just my effort that won the race, it was my team. There was a bike race behind me that was executed perfectly by Team TIBCO. Wow.
What a great bike race. As we rolled around the course afterwards, Kat told me that I wasn’t in trouble. Phew. I did my job, TIBCO won, and it was a great day at the office. I love this team. After the race, we thought about spending our earnings in the local shops. Nah, with a DvF dress for 300 dollars, the salary of the bike racer doesn’t quite cut it. Oh well, I will settle for a recovery BBQ and some good relaxation with friends and teammates.