Early on Sunday morning, at nearly one mile above sea level, Molly Van Houweling rocketed to win the NCNCA District Time Trial Championship. She completed the 40km course in 58:29.7. Afterward, Molly came to celebrate with the team at a BBQ held that same day. In addition to her posted race report, we decided to ask the demure rider about her season and this big achievement.
Metromint Cycling Reporter at Large (MC): Was your result a surprise to you?
Molly: Not entirely. Last season I finished third at this event, but several minutes behind Bev and Jane. This season my goal was to improve enough to be competitive with them. At Kern County Stage Race, I was 25 seconds behind Jane, which was almost in the competitive range. Then a couple of weeks ago I finished 19 seconds behind Bev in a practice time trial. Last week at Dunlap Time Trial, [NDLR: ...where Molly took first place] I beat Jane for the first time--by
quite a bit (30-seconds). So I definitely thought a win was possible.
MC: How did you train leading up to this event? What did you do special to peak for this?
Molly: I got a lot of advice from my coach Giana Roberge over the past year that I've been working with her. She is a former world champion (35-39 masters TT) and was actually the fastest woman on Sunday (but competing in the masters category). I practiced a lot on my TT bike. My husband Rob spent hours working on my bike to make it fast. And (probably most importantly), I went down to the San Diego Air & Space Technology Center Low Speed Wind Tunnel in February and worked with cycling aerodynamics expert Kraig Willett on my position.
MC: Tell me what you did on the day of the race. Did anything unusual happen?
Molly: It was quite windy, which made it challenging to keep concentrating and maintain a steady effort (both key to time trialing). My power was hampered by the altitude, which made it difficult to pace properly. (I ride with an SRM power control unit, but the altitude makes it very difficult to interpret the numbers.) All in all, I felt pretty horrible. But I've found that I feel horrible in 99.9% of all time trials. The key is to keep going strong anyway!
MC: What kind of support did you get from friends, teammates, coach?
Molly: See above re coach and husband. I took advantage of the Beat the Clock and Help Beat Cancer time trials on Cañada Road in Woodside to practice. My teammates set an example for me with their great racing and supported me even as I took time out from racing with them to focus on time trialing.
MC: How did you experience the race? Do you remember what you were thinking about?
Molly: Besides feeling horrible (see above), I was singing "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" in my head. I started using this song as motivation back when the "tomorrow" I had in mind was this race! So singing it on race day itself didn't really make any sense. But I can't ride without it now.
MC: How did you celebrate?
Molly: Ate a cheeseburger in Downieville. Bought a piece of garden art for my garden. Champagne toast at the team BBQ! [NDLR: Photo!]
MC: How do you think this (District Champion) will effect your future cycling endeavors?
Molly: I hope it will give me confidence and motivation to continue to improve in both time trialing and other aspects of my cycling. The next big focus is the Cascade Cycling Classic, which will include a long time trial and other types of challenges!
MC: What next?
Molly: I'll return to gold rush country on Sunday for the Tour of Nevada City--which is about as different from a time trial as possible!
A huge congratulations to Molly, good luck at Tour of Nevada this weekend, and thanks for sharing your experience with us!!!