When you think Spring classics, you think Flanders, Paris Roubaix and all the “hardman” races in Europe, but for team Colavita, the spring classics are a little different. For a US professional women’s team, the Spring classics are Redlands, Joe Martin, Gila and Tour of California, just to name a few. They may not have been scattered with sections of cobbles or pounded by atrocious conditions but they were filled with exciting racing, ample results and victories and many classic moments that have brought Team Colavita together as one little unit.
San Dimas and Redlands were our opening races of the season and gave us an opportunity to figure each other out and define our roles in the team. We became accustomed to the way this team operates and rather familiar with the fine establishment that is Motel 6. We opened the account with GC podiums and Stage wins and kick started our season.
The relentless climbing and altitude Tour of the Gila had us all so cracked that some of us didn’t even realise we had our clothes on backwards. It was by far the hardest race of the season (or at least for me) and filled with classic moments. I am still unsure how I feel about it, at the time I may have wished terrible things on Mary for sending me there and cursed my team mates as they “paced” me over the climbs, but looking back I know it helped me in the long run. We also witnessed a classic Katie moment as she wore her changing skirt like a hospital gown and accidentally flashed the streets of New Mexico. A fashion faux pas from a certain other team prompted a “who wore it better” moment when it comes to the celeste green and has created a bitter rivalry between staff. Look out Jono, Mary is upping her game!
Tour of California, our first Women’s World Tour event, brought a whole different ball game. Kimbers and Gretchen rejoined the team after their European stints with their respective national teams and we headed for Lake Tahoe after a quick preview of the TTT. The views in Lake Tahoe were absolutely breath taking, so much so, that I am now nicknamed Cannon Ball after a pre ride incident that cost me and a few others a little bit of skin and created a whole lot of extra work for Ande.
The racing was phenomenal as we battled it out with the the European teams on “home turf”. We fought for every place, every wheel and every position in line for dinner. We were mortified when Shish offered little Colavita olive oils to the likes of Marianna Vos and Kristen Wilde at dinner, but then proud as punch when they asked for more. And our spirits were again lifted when we heard that our badass soigneur had roller skated her way down the finishing straight, pulling stunts for the crowd in Sacramento. We almost had our trailer towed, we suffered through the stages, but somehow we all came out smiling.
Then this past weekend at North Star Grand Prix, our final Spring classic, we pushed through and closed out our Spring campaign in style. It started with an 8km TT, where we questioned if Mary was Technically challenged when she told us that myself, Gretchen and Whitney were holding the top 3 positions with only a few riders remaining on course. We ended up placing 3rd, 4th and 6th and setting Colavita up for what was to be a fantastic Tour. The stages were hot, challenging and sometimes dangerous, but we pulled through and made sure to #holdtherope. We established our Colavita clump, lifted each other up when we were all hurting and persevered to earn a hard fought result for the myself and the Team. We took home Best young rider, a 2nd place on GC and the Teams classification. Along with 2 stage podiums, a whole lot of laughs and huge steps forward as a team.
Of course, these were not our only results for the season. We claimed a Stage Win, the sprinters jersey and a podium at Redlands. A Podium at Winston Salem Crit, our first UCI 1.1 win at GP Gatineau and a stage win and omnium podium at Airforce Classic.
It seems like so long ago that we kicked off the season at San Dimas Stage race and since then we have shared stories of our hosts, our racing, our families and our pets. Discussed astrophysics, podcasts, music and everything twice over. We have won, we have failed, we have grown as one big family unit and most importantly we have held the rope when we were all cracked or faced hard times. As a team, we are better and this spring season has simply proved that. Now for some much needed time at home base before we make that final push to the last races of the season.
Bye for now