Words by Bill Nicely
This story starts a year ago at the 2013 Snelling Road Race. While Metromint, Pinnacle, Now/Novartis and other random pros were beating up on each other in a late breakaway, Dana Martin was following closely behind. Martin would go on to finish twelfth, just outside a top ten finish which tends to be a strong indicator of impending NorCal success. The slugfest, and result, made Dana happy. “This is going to be a good season,” she thought to herself.
Then, a few weeks following Snelling, Dana was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Two months later Dana posted this note:
“Today I celebrate becoming a cancer survivor.
After being diagnosed with cervical cancer two months ago, two surgeries and five weeks of daily radiation treatments later, I’m feeling grateful to my ACS family for arming me with the knowledge I needed to make good decisions, and to my mom and the other amazing angels in my life who kept me strong and put up with my bitching and complaining, I’m truly humbled and thankful. To all my ladies (and to the men who support them), please get an annual exam every year regardless of the guidelines. La vie est belle. xo” ~ From Dana’s Facebook page last July
Turlock Lake Road Race 2014
With rain and 50 degree temperatures forecasted, many riders steered clear of Turlock. Eight women, four from Mike’s Bikes, three from Threshold Sports, and one from Velo Sports Group took the start for a three lap, 68 mile race. Smiling at the front and chatting with her teammates was Dana Martin (Mike’s Bikes.) Although always competitive, Dana’s focus this year has been on developing the newly formed Mike’s Bikes women’s team. Chat with Dana for five minutes and you’ll realize she might be the definition of the perfect team director, teammate, and cheerleader.
The first fifteen miles of the race was an easy cruise. Except for an untimely flat, and a slow easy pace set by the peloton that allowed the dropped rider to chase back into the group, the race started out uneventfully. Rollers and general malaise allowed a Josie Morgan (Threshold) and Ivy Wang (Mike’s Bikes) to gain a of 2-3 second gap. With both teams represented, the duo just rolled off the front, and no one got out of the saddle to chase.
Megan Alderete of Velo Sports Group, being the odd woman out, didn’t respond at first, but once she realized the peloton was racing against her she went to the front, got in the drops and chased. Alderete chased for twenty miles and closed the gap by several seconds, but could not make contact. Alderete continued to attack but was going nowhere alone. As the gap increased to over 3 minutes 30 miles to race, Alderete made one more big push to separate from the peloton that set up Dana Martin for a powerful counter attack. Content with two teammates up the road, Mike’s Bikes went into auto-pilot cruise mode.
With regular time gaps given by super-moto ref, Marc Franklin, Martin realized that she was slowly closing in on the leaders. After a twenty mile effort Martin joined Morgan and Wang and what looked like a two up race took on a new dimension. Martin wasted little time recovering before she countered an attack by her teammate, and escaped a tiring Morgan. Dana Martin proceeded to ride in solo to victory.
Morgan lead out the sprint from 300 meters, and with a perfectly timed bike throw, beat Wang for second in a photo finish. A few minutes down, Megan Alderete won the pack sprint for fourth.
After the Martin wasn’t celebrating, but was asking her teammates how their races went.
Since Turlock Lake RR is the the second race of the Premier Series, Martin is tied for first with Joanna Dahl, and Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees leads the Premier Series Team Competition over Metromint by an estimated 39 to 33 points.
A congratulatory note to Martin after the race received this response, “For me personally this really all about being an inspiration to those in ‘the fight’ – to show them there’s hope. There were days when I was going through treatment when I felt mentally and physically defeated. I just kept pedaling, because I could. There are others who are not as lucky, yet they press on. They’re the ones who inspire me. ” ~ Dana Martin
Today, let’s all celebrate Dana’s survival from cancer and her return to the promise of a great season.
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