Offical Home of Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling

Mara Abbott Blog: “An honor to be able to wear an Amy D jersey”

Mara Abbott

After the Trofeo Binda in Italy at the end of March, I got to return home to compete at the Redlands Cycling Classic – the kickoff for the cycling season in America, and one of my favorite races.

My Wiggle High5 management was generous enough to let me compete on a composite team at Redlands – The Amy Dombroski Foundation Team.  Amy was a good friend of mine, a spectacular cyclocross racer who was killed in a training accident in 2013.  The foundation was created by her older brother and his wife to help support young women to get their start in cycling.  It’s a very special honor to be able to wear an Amy D jersey for a day or two – naturally with my Wiggle shorts!

This year, the second stage was Oak Glen – a mountaintop finish.  Unfortunately, I crashed during the stage, and although I ended up winning that day, it was later revealed that I had fractured my collarbone, which was really not in my game plan.

I had already agreed to write a guest column for the local paper, the Redlands Daily Facts, and this, if nothing else, gave me an interesting story to tell!

I thought I would share it with you as well.

So grateful to Wiggle-High5 in supporting me in competing in the race – as well as in my recovery!

The original column is at :

The text of my article follows:

Thursday morning I awoke with a dream of Oak Glen.

That climb is a special spot for me personally – the Oak Glen stage of the 2007 Redlands Classic was where I had my first professional win.  The bliss that followed that day was filled with the first foggy moments of realizing that I could truly become something as a cyclist.  Last year, when I heard that after nearly a decade Oak Glen was back I was racing in Europe for my trade team, Wiggle-High5.  The siren called:  I knew that I had to return regardless, and with the help of locally famed Joy McCullough, we made it happen. This year it was the same – only I gave Joy a bit of a break on the stress and planned ahead.

The welcoming community and consistently hard racing at Redlands Classic has enormous nostalgic importance in the hearts of a large portion of the professional peloton.  For me, however, Oak Glen will always be its crown jewel.  I would – I have – crossed oceans to climb your mountain.

Thursday’s dream was of a stage win – but more importantly, a post-race triumphant visit to Mom’s Country Orchards for more organic local apples.  We haven’t seen those in Colorado in months.  They had promised a celebration for any cyclist with tanjelo juice when I visited on Monday, and I swore I would be back.  The first part of my vision came true – my teammates on the Amy Dombroski Foundation team and I were able to secure the win.  However, due to a mid-race crash, my celebration involved a post-race car ride down the hill to Yucaipa Urgent Care.  No tanjelos were involved.

Bike racing is very glamorous.

After the intensity of Wednesday’s short and technical Highland Circuit race, the beginning of Thursday’s stage was quite benign.  This often seems to happen when a stage’s profile culminates in a mountaintop finish – folks are a little wary of spending bullets early with such a challenge looming in the background.  Through the opening laps, there were no major attacks or action by any teams.  Personally feeling that I had a good chance of being the first to Mom’s raspberry lemon jam if we came into the base of the final climb together, the situation worked well for me.

My largest drama of those circuits was getting tangled up in a large crash as the base of the descent on our third lap.  I was able to chase back on fairly quickly, take a few deep breaths and be recovered and ready by the time the climb arrived.  My teammate Abby Mickey set a strong tempo as the road began to kick up, and Amber Neben of the Dare to Be Project then took over the pace-setting as the lead group dwindled to just five riders.  I launched an attack and only Kristin Armstrong of Twenty16-ShoAir was able to follow.  A second attack dislodged her, and I was climbing alone, full single-minded effort directed at pedaling up a mountain.

The summit finish.  It is for that moments that I am a cyclist.

However, when I got off my bike at the top, something was definitely wrong with my shoulder.  It had been stiff during the stage, but once I tried to take my arm out of the bicycle racing position, “stiff” became “quite painful”.  I must confess that a bit of piteous weeping made the stage winner post-race anti-doping control test a bit awkward.

The prognosis after x-rays is that I have a small break at the very tip of my collarbone.  One lesson you learn early on as a stage racer is that you really have to take each moment as it comes.  Cycling is too unpredictable to realistically attempt anything more.  Such clear focus on the one single instant you can control – now – is actually one of the greatest gifts of racing.  Sort of the sportsman’s answer to all of that hippie mindfulness mumbo-jumbo.

Today I made one decision – to start the time trial despite my injury.  I lost my yellow jersey, but I didn’t lose the race.  Tomorrow I will get to make a decision again.  Should I make it to Sunday, there is Sunset.  In 2008 I lost a yellow jersey by one second on Sunset.  This time I may be the one behind, but I know from (extremely unfortunate) experience that this thing is far from over.

I hope to see you all out at the race tomorrow.  Thank you for sharing your community with this bunch of riff-raff for a week every year.

And thank you for Oak Glen.

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed