Bev’s Rapha Prestige 2013 Race Report and Wrap-Up

On April 13, I had the opportunity to participate in an incredible challenge with five other teammates, the Rapha Women’s Prestige 2013. It’s a 123 mile team time trial race with approx 12k feet of climbing. There were 18 other teams racing. The Rio Strada Women’s team consisted of four of our strongest cat 3 women, myself (cat 2), and Julie Young (12-year US National A-team member, ex-Saturn, Timex, Cox Cable, etc pro).

For me, 123 miles is quite a distance which I have been training for over the past three months along with my five other team mates. But it’s not the miles that matter so much, it’s the time in the saddle and the ability to push yourself hard off and on during the hours of the race until the end. In order to keep our energy going, appropriate fueling is necessary, both liquids and solid foods. I’m not one to let myself go hungry during a ride or a race either. I probably eat more often than less often.

The Race started from Rapha Cycling Club in San Francisco, about a mile outside of the beautiful Presidio. We headed out through the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and through Sausalito. I was glad that I started the day with a large breakfast because 15 miles into the ride, in Sausalito, we started our first long (four-plus mile) climb. I knew it was a sign of things to come. We had a very short breather downhill when we got to the dirt road up to the top of Mt. Tam which ended up being just under five miles long, both fun and taxing.

When we hit the pavement, we fueled up. Our team was lucky enough to have Nature’s Bakery provide each of us with yummy, fresh raspberry bars which we loaded into our pockets. The raspberry bars are my favorite! The packages are easy to open to pull out the bars while riding. I devoured one pack of bars, then constrained myself from gobbling down more to save them for later in the ride.

We were just about a quarter of the way into the ride, at around 30 miles, after a really nice, long downhill. Legs were feeling those climbs but still feeling good. Stinson Beach brought us a nice flat section of Highway 1 along with a beautiful view of the ocean and a very nice, incredibly strong head wind. Ugh! Luckily, another team passed us as we were regaining composure and grabbing a quick bite without stopping, we quickly hopped on to the back of the other team. They carried us for several miles and a comfortable pace.

One of our team mates was starting to fall back. She began having lower back issues from that stint on the dirt. That whole section was incredibly jarring on the body. She kept giving it a shot but her back was not cooperating at all. At this point in the race, we were about 12 miles away from one of the hardest climbs on the ride, Mt. Vision in Pt. Reyes. So unfortunately at this point in our race, we lost the one team mate and she jumped in the support vehicle. We found out later on that this teammate lent her bike to a gal on another team, who’s bike derailleur broke, so that gal could finish her race.

Mt Vision was not without pain. It was a very beautiful climb of 1,300’ up into the park at the top. Then it was an incredibly windy and cold descent. The good news at this point was that this was our turn around point. Now at mile 60, we were headed back. To make things even better, the wind would be at our backs for a very long distance.

We made another pit stop with our support vehicle for more water, Nature’s Bakery bars, a hard-boiled eggs, and electrolyte drink.

On our way again and mostly with a tailwind, we were picking up our pace on any section that was flat or not too hilly. We had a nice long break from the hills up until mile around mile 90 where we were headed up Ridgecrest, a very nice and long climb. My legs were really feeling it at this point. Julie rode alongside me telling me to just focus on a nice consistent pace. That totally helped me too otherwise I may focus on the pain more. I was really starting to fall back further on the hills. So I would ride ahead on the down hills leading in to another hill and start up the hill before the others to  save time. By the time we hit the “Sever Sisters” which is a series of shorter power climbs that overlook the Pacific Ocean and is absolutely beautiful, another teammate and I were feeling the pain.

Finally we reached Mill Valley again then back into Sausalito. We were so close to being finished. We had another mile climb back up to the Golden Gate Bridge. As we approached a traffic light we caught up to team Rapha who had started just before us. As we approached the last climb, team Rapha was pushing the pace. Another teammate and I fell back on the last hill. Our legs were toast. Our other three teammates waited for us at the top at the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge. Back together again deflated knowing that team Rapha would beat us to the finish line.

Our last few miles of the ride and back through the Presidio were a satisfying relief. As we rolled back to Rapha Cycling Club we were welcomed with a loud, warm cheer from the crowd. Much to our surprise, several minutes after we finished the team Rapha rolled in – apparently a wrong turn navigating back though the city.

What a great day and what a great adventure. Would we do it again? Probably….




Fast at Franktown

Many thanks to Julie Young for helping get my first sub 20-minutes on this course. All the work is paying off.

Bragging… sort of. We had our first Reno Wheelmen, Tuesday night twilight race in Wahsoe Valley last night — the Franktown Time Trial. It’s been a goal of mine for at least a year to break 20 minutes on this course and Tuesday night I did it! Thanks Julie Young for all the coaching that helped make it happen!

Heidi Littenberg


SuperTour Cross Country Ski National Champs and Olypmic Qualifiers are Here

We at Silver Sage Sports Performance Center and o2fitness are pleased to support and sponsor the SuperTour. We will be hosting several presentations over the two week schedule of events, including Hydration and Nutrition for Skiing, Techniques of the Pros, and Off-Snow Stability and Mobility Strategies for Improved On-Snow Efficiency and Performance.

Technique of the Pros takes place Sunday April 7 at 6 pm at Tahoe Donner Cross-Country Center.

Using the latest in sporting video review technology, Dartfish video analysis, I will be joined by Sugar Bowl Academy’s Coach, Jeff Schloss; and Olympic Biathlete Glenn Jobe to dissect and analyze race footage of top SuperTour athletes’ technique. We captured video during Thursday’s skate prologue and Friday’s classic 10 and 15 K events – it was thrilling and inspiring to be trail-side as the best skiers in the world strutted their stuff. It is a free event, but donations are welcome to help sponsor the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Far West Farm Team athletes.

Visit our websites next week when we will post samplings of Super Tour ski action and Dartfish analysis.

We utilize Dartfish in many of the Silver Sage Sports Performance Center services, including bike fitting, as well as gait and running analysis. In addition we use Dartfish when developing individual return to sport, injury prevention and performance strength and conditioning programs as a way to precisely define and identify weak links in movement patterns.

What is the SuperTour?

The United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) SuperTour Finals and U.S. Distance Nationals are the premier cross country ski races in the United States. The event is held annually each spring and features over 200 of the most talented cross country skiers in the world. Among the featured elite athletes scheduled to make an appearance is Kikkan Randall of the U.S. Ski Team, currently ranked second on the FIS World Cup tour.

“The SuperTour Finals is extremely prestigious. This is the most exciting race event to hit the local Nordic scene since the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley,” says Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center manager Sally Jones. “I encourage everyone to come out to watch how fast these talented professional and amateur athletes can ski,” Jones says.

The United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) SuperTour Finals, a Nordic Olympic qualifying cross country race series comes to Tahoe/Truckee on Thursday, April 4 through Thursday, April 11 with special Tahoe Donner festivities for two weeks surrounding the event.