On a beautiful, sunny California morning, a trio of Team TIBCO riders came out to play at the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix. Brooke Miller, Alison Rosenthal, and Alison Starnes had to contend with a strong Northern California elite women’s field and a large SugarCRM squad.
“SugarCRM did a great job with always being out in front,” commented Team Director Linda Jackson. “We only had three riders out there and SugarCRM had a full team.”
“This was a really fun, really hard and aggressive race. SugarCRM had a lot of riders racing today,” affirmed Miller. “In a race like this, if we have just one rider break, we can just say, ‘hey, they are not going to hold it’ and let that rider go out but what they were doing was attacking in pairs. They always had two riders up the road. One rider is not going to stay away but two riders can. This forced the race to be very aggressive. When you have the numbers (like SugarCRM) that is how you do it. They were racing really aggressively and racing to win it. We only had three riders so there was a limit to what we could do. We were here to win the race. We needed to make sure and get up there and chase down any breaks. Both Ali’s (Rosenthal and Starnes) did a great job. I was having fun.”
“I was actually the team’s Plan B,” continued Miller “We were trying to get Ali Rosenthal a win but on this course it’s so wide open. It’s really hard to get breaks to stick.”
“I could tell going into the last lap that Brooke (Miller) was going to go for it,” added Jackson. “Ali R (Rosenthal) had to do so much work.”
During the final two laps, two SugarCRM riders took off forcing Rosenthal and Starnes to chase it down. In the final lap Starnes was on the front leading out Miller to an easy sprint win.
“That girl has a motor,” Miller said of Starnes. “She took me all the way around and into the final corner.”
“This was only the second lead-out I’ve ever done,” Starnes noted afterward.
“Both Alisons are very new riders,” stated Miller. “Ali Starnes gave an epic lead out and that last set of laps Ali Rosenthal was covering everything. We wanted to work on some team dynamics and this was an excellent race to do that.”
“We’re really lucky to have such quality races and strong fields on the local NorCal scene,” Miller said. “Everyone on our team wants to make sure they’re in top form for the early NRC races, such as Redlands at the end of the month. Races like Menlo (Park) definitely keep us in race shape.”
Starnes, Miller and Rosenthal will be donating their prize money from Sunday to the Northern California/Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) Juniors Program. “As women’s pro cyclists, most of us live hand to mouth,” Miller said. “We all ride because we love it and want to build the sport! Had I known about cycling when I was a kid, I would have fallen in love way back then. Even though we don’t have a lot of money and don’t make a lot, we are thrilled to be able to donate today’s winnings to helping share cycling with kids. Sports are empowering for children and we want to be able to help the next generation of cyclists get started on their way!”
One further note…right after the conclusion of the women’s elite 1/2/3 race, the race organizers held a brief memorial ride for cyclists Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson. Both riders were struck by a Santa Clara County sheriff’s patrol vehicle a year ago while on a training ride. The patrol vehicle had crossed the center line while travelling downhill in the opposite direction.