Sunday, June 29, 2008


When you start out with the statement "changing the face of women's cycling" many are quick to judge your every move. Being a Vanderkitten is not easy, and from the beginning of the season we offered that it would be a hard road on this team because we were very serious about putting together the foundation for the next super-team. We've had some riders come and go, and we've picked up hot new talent, but all the while we have stayed true to our mission, true to ourselves and our sponsors.

I was writing an email to a very strong candidate for next year's team and the thing I told her, above all else, that was needed for success in this program is SACRIFICE. There is no way for a team to be a champion or a brand to sell millions of units without everyone willing to sacrifice, even a little, for the good of the overall goal. Those who can't make the sacrifice quickly find themselves struggling to catch-up. In a first year team, where nothing is perfect, sacrifice is a wonderful companion to patience.

On that note, here is a race report from Jennifer Wilson who perfected the art of sacrifice. Jennifer has given blood and flesh for this team enduring horrific crashes and amazing triumphs. Remember, it is rare that a first-year team, with no director, can achieve anything more than an "also-ran".... but today Melissa, Liz and Jen got it done, out numbered, out financed but not out classed!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICES!!

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2008

Jennifer Wilson - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Thank goodness for the ocean. The weather today was hot for the beach but much cooler than the valley where I live. The Vanderkitten contingency today was Liz, Melissa and myself. We felt very confident going into the race and knew that most likely it would come down to entering the last 180 degree turn first. For being an NRC race so far from the others at this time of year there was a good turnout of about 74 riders with Tibco and Cheerwine having 4 riders each and ValueAct bringing 5 riders. The New Zealand team Jazz Apple was in attendance with quite a few riders as well with the rest of the pack being represented with local riders.

Liz Hatch - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

It was a typical Manhattan Beach with riders attacking off the front and eventually being caught. VK rode a very smart race and was attentive to moves off the front and made smart choices depending on who was in the break. Each of us at one point found ourselves in some move or another which was excellent. Liz and I did a great job near the end of the race patrolling the front. There was one move we missed and everyone was represented and Liz did a stellar move bringing it back. There were other attacks from Cheerwine and Jazz Apple and I went with Amber Rais to bridge to them. We were down to just 6 laps to go and we did not want anything to get away without a VK in it.

Liz Hatch - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Melissa and I had planned to attack and go all out on the hill on the backside. Rough to do today considering the heavy headwind but you have to take chances. I was on Melissa’s wheel on the last lap and she was doing an excellent job keeping us to the front. A surge came up on the right and I went with it. Eventually this would be a bad move. As I put my head in the wind to stay near the front waiting to launch my attack a surge of riders came up the right side and blocked us in. Then like lightening, Melissa was attacking on the right and flying. She was first into the turn and ended up 4th overall. Great job! There was great VK team work during the entire race. As always Manhattan Beach is like gambling with trying to enter into the last turn first and it was great to have such wonderful teammates so that if something happened to one there was another who could accomplish the goal. Great job ladies!

1st – Brooke Miller (Tibco)

2nd – Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine)

3rd – Jen McRae (Advil/Chapstick)

4th – Melissa Sanborn (Vanderkitten Racing)

Photo by Ken Conley

No comments: