Was Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS) being greedy when she won all four stages along with the overall and the points jersey at the Sea Otter Classic women’s stage race?
“I guess a little.” she replied with a big smile.
With two laps to go in the tough circuit race on the Laguna Seca racetrack, Powers attacked Only one rider, Jackie Crowell (Exergy Twenty12) jumped on.
“I was hoping to have some teammates but we just kept going and Olivia yelled at me, go, keep softening up the legs. Alright, so I went and only one came with me. It was one of us that was going to go, it was just a matter of who. And it is an advantage to have the yellow jersey, because it ‘oh who’s going to chase that’. I wish a teammate could have won but at least our team won and that’s all that matters.” Powers told podiuminsight.
The two riders, teammates on a prior team, knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. On paper, Crowell was the better sprinter while Powers, a former pro downhill skiier, is known for her descending skills.
The duel became tactical. “She was being really smart, forced me to keep riding and finally I was like you know what I have teammates in the field that I know can podium so I stopped pedaling and yelled at her a little bit and then got her to lead me out.” said Powers who led down the corkscrew descent hoping to get a gap. Then Powers slotted in behind Crowell just like she had practiced at camp.
“We practiced some sprinting at camp, how to sprint, things you’re supposed to do. I can’t tell you our secrets.” Powers laughs. “I used it and it worked and when I passed her, she cursed and then I knew that I had won.”
What a difference a year makes for Powers. Last time we chatted in July, Powers was returning from an elbow injury and figuring out her future. This past week, she along with her team dominated the four-day race from start to finish and all along.
She quickly attributed her current happiness to her team. “Really it’s the people you surround yourself with that make you excited, make you motivated. If you’re with cool people and it’s fun, you’re motivated. If it’s not a fun environment where everyone meshes and there’s not good leadership, it’s real hard to get motivated when you’ve been doing it for a while. This team is fantastic. Everyone, we have fun off the bike, we laugh, we giggle, we make fun of everyone, it’s awesome.”
Powers, who was never under pressure in her defense of the yellow jersey at Sea Otter, doesn’t think that she is too strong too early in the season.
“I know the training that I’ve been doing and I’m surprised that I’m where I am from the training that I’ve been doing. May is a big, big month.” she explained with SRAM Tour of the Gila, Exergy Tour and more races on the horizon. “We’re coming into a big block that I need to be fit that’s the goal.”
Powers does admit that her current form can be linked to her mental attitude. “I’m having fun. I’m excited to train and that’s much more motivating then when you go out ‘oh really I have to train, it’s snowing and I’m training’. Racing is a lot between the ears, it’s not all legs.”
After the races in May, the former USA time trial champion is eyeing the USA National Road Championships in June. “I hope to not die of heat and humidity.” Powers laughs. “We’re coming into really big racing.”