Current World Time Trial Champion Kristin Armstrong delivered some valuable time trialing advice as directeur sportif of Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 before the start of the Redlands Bicycle Classic prologue on Thursday, March 25. She retired from professional bike racing following her world title last year and is expecting the arrival of her first child this fall.
"I'm pregnant so no racing for me this year," Armstrong said. "Directing this team makes it really easy for me to be apart of the cycling environment and take a natural transition. As much as I want to race, it's
okay to take a break. But, I have competitive blood in me and I pre-road the course and was thinking how much fun it would have been to be out there racing."
Last year, Armstrong announced she would be working with the Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 squad following her retirement. She made her debut appearance as a directeur sportif at the Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic at the beginning of March. Following the Redlands Bicycle Classic, she is scheduled to guide the team at the Tour of the Gila, Liberty Classic, Nature Valley Gran Prix and Elite US National Championships.
"It was good and I've had a lot of fun so far this season being with the girls," Armstrong said. "It's definitely a different environment and a lot more work than being a rider, that's for sure. I didn't sleep very well last night and today I woke up early. I think I still have it in my mind that I have to prepare for a time trial after so many years of doing it. I was enjoying giving the girls tips today because I think that there are so many girls out there that need information on time trialing. Now I can go in there and talk to the girls and be a part of the team."
The Redlands Bicycle Classic kicked off with a five-kilometre up hill time trial. Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) came through with a second place performance, some 16 seconds behind stage winner and former
world time trial champion Amber Neben (Dare To Be-BMW Bianchi). Armstrong provided her six-woman roster with some valuable clues before the start of the race.
"The main tip today was to break the course into three sections and the first section being technical," Armstrong said. "The second section, what you thought was a flat road was actually a rough up hill road. Lastly, you had to take the climb and attack it from the bottom. At the end of the day I asked the girls on the team how they did and the one thing I didn't want to hear was, 'I could have gone harder.'
"I can hear things like, 'I wish I took the corner better' or 'I was a little afraid on the descent' but no one wants to hear that you could have gone a little harder," she added. "I try to teach people that they should never try and take the win away from the winner. Whoever wins that day is the strongest person and when you say you could have gone harder, you take that win away from somebody."
Armstrong praised the competitive peloton that includes riders like Neben and Ina Teutenberg and her HTC-Columbia teammates. "It's nice for the American girls to have Amber and Ina in the peloton and to have those champions starting the race," Armstrong said. "They are the best in the world and the rest of the girls race hard because they are there. There is a lot of competition here and it will teach our girls how to race better."