What's Cool In Road Cycling

Team ValueAct Capital: Unplugged 2!

Thanks for coming back to the Taitt and Martina on-the-road diary. It’s been a long time since we have talked, and well, a lot has happened. Hold on to your handle bars while we try and get you up to speed on what’s what in women’s cycling right now.

Taitt: First off, I haven’t had any ice cream since our last diary entry. This is obviously really important. But I have made a point of having a little tiny piece of dark chocolate every day since the Redlands Bicycle Classic, which has really helped my recovery from the March season.

Martina: I have also quit eating ice cream since our last diary entry. Ok, that’s a lie. But I have also been eating a little piece of chocolate everyday. Taitt, you told me that the antioxidants are good for my skin. And good for my bike racing…are you trying to sabotage me? Don’t you remember we are teammates?

Taitt: Of course chocolate is good for your bike racing. Look at how you finished second in the Sprinter’s Competition at Redlands. And the competition was strong too, with tough teams like Webcor, TEAm Lipton, and T-Mobile banging bars.


Martina winning the intermediate sprint at the Oak Glen stage at Redlands.

Martina: True, and Redlands was no easy race. The Oak Glen stage was rough, with two sprint point lines in between three major climbs, plus climbers like Mara Abbott and Amber Neben drilling it for the QOM points. The downtown criterium was fast, as it is every year, with TEAm Lipton doing full-on leadout trains for the sprinter points. Ina Tuetenberg from T-Mobile inevitably put the hammer down and drove a break all the way to the line for another win.

Taitt: You know, one thing I have noticed about stage racing is that it is very important for women racers to bring the appropriate attire for every stage, plus all the time in between stages. For the ValueAct Capital girls, I know looking good on the bike and off the bike is a big priority. Luckily our Serottas always make us look good on the bike.

Martina: I’d like to point out the importance of bling. Which is something that is often overlooked in the women’s peloton. These days it seems like the men bike racers have on more jewelry than the women. But not with our ValueAct Capital team, where big and sparkly earrings are part of the team kit. Unfortunately, we do not have a jewelry sponsor yet. Any takers?


Cruising in the Marin Headlands.

Taitt: You also have to look good for those long drives back and forth between home and Southern California. After Redlands, the team headed back to the Bay Area and then turned around four days later to race the Garrett Lemire Grand Prix in Ojai.

Martina: That’s the race where Taitt and I decided to finish right next to each other, 9th and 10th in the field sprint after a killer lead out from super strong teamie Courtenay Brown. Taitt, are you following me?

Taitt: I just like you so much that I wanted to finish right next to you. From now on though, let’s try finishing right next to each other on the podium instead.

Martina: Obviously you are the brains of this organization. The whole concept of “finishing” is very important and something that the entire women’s peloton missed out on at Sea Otter, where the officials pulled the plug mid-race due to weather conditions similar to Armageddon.


Sea Otter in the Rain.

Taitt: Rats, I really wanted to finish that one, despite not being able to see past my front wheel. That corkscrew descent is really fun with your eyes closed.

Martina: The good news was that we had lots of extra time to talk to our friends at Ritchey, Cytosport, Beljum Budder, Maxxis and Reynolds at the expo. The ValueAct Capital teamies even had a women’s racing and training clinic post race at the Ritchey tent, but only men showed up.

Taitt: The next day we dried off, regrouped and had a podium finish at the Santa Cruz Classic Criterium. Lots of the pro riders showed up super fresh after Sea Otter was canceled, so the race was especially fast from the gun.


Courtenay, with Martina on her wheel, at Santa Cruz.

Martina: Thanks for the lead out, it was really helpful when I was duking it out with Aaron’s and Cheerwine’s full powerhouse squads. As always, the ValueAct Capital girls were racing like rock star teammates.

Taitt: Next on my racing schedule is a trip down south with Courtenay to Georgia for the Athens Twilight Criterium and the Nalley Historic Roswell Criterium. The team billy goats Sharon Allpress and Hannah Banana Banks are off to the super tough, super hilly, and oxygen deficient Tour of the Gila in New Mexico.

Martina: In the meantime, I am going to be hitting the hills in preparation for the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic in Oregon (my home state – go Oregonians!).

Tune in again next month to read the indescribable, unpredictable, and possibly ridiculous adventures of Taitt and Martina on the road. Find out if Martina can duke it out for the sprints, if Taitt is still NOT eating ice cream and much more…


ValueAct Capital Women’s Cycling Team – Athens Twilight and Roswell Criteriums – 4/28-4/29

Taitt Sato and Courtenay Brown headed to Georgia this past weekend to represent ValueAct Capital at the Athens Twilight Criterium and the Nalley Roswell Criterium, two NRC races that are also part of the Southeast Criterium series.

With only two team members to duke it out against full squads from Aaron’s Corporate Furnishings, Colavita Sutter Home and Team Cheerwine, the girls knew their best shot at a fun and successful race was to be aggressive – and they were definitely key animators in both races. At Athens, Courtenay picked up two sprint primes, and Taitt spent several laps off the front of the race in a breakaway. Both girls covered multiple attacks by the Aaron’s team, whose excellent team tactics won them the race. As the evening went on, the streets got darker, the fans got rowdier, and the race got excitingly surreal. Through one of the darker corners with 12 laps remaining in the race, a break of 6 riders escaped, and included members of all of the big teams. Unfortunately, Taitt and Courtenay missed the break; but they knew that Cheerwine was not happy with the break’s combination, and so the Cheerwine team attempted to reel the break in. However, the break was successful, with Aaron’s Katharine Carroll winning the race. Back in the field sprint, Taitt and Courtenay finished 7th and 9th in the field for 13th and 15th in the race.

In Roswell, the goal of the day was again to animate the race, and this goal was resoundingly met. Both riders stayed at the front, covering attacks and launching their own. Courtenay picked up a prime and spent a few laps off the front in a two-person breakaway, and as soon as the move was reeled in, Taitt took off. Then she and a Cheerwine rider were off the front for several laps, until they were finally reeled in at 3 to go and the sprinters’ teams started setting up for the field sprint. Taitt finished 12th, Courtenay 13th.

Next up on the NRC Calendar, Sharon Allpress and Hannah Banks will represent the team at the Tour of the Gila!

The ValueAct Capital Cycling Team is managed under the umbrella of Momentum Sports Group, LLC, which also manages the Health Net p/b Maxxis Cycling Team. Additional sponsors include Serotta Competition Bicycles, the Dubai International Financial Exchange, Reynolds, Speedplay, Rudy Project, Ritchey, Maxxis, fi’z:ik, Beljum Budder, Capoforma, Cytosport and the U.S. Women’s Cycling Development Program.

ValueAct Capital is one of the premiere value-investing firms in the United States, taking large ownership positions in publicly-traded companies and then working closely with company management to generate strong returns. ValueAct Capital is excited to sponsor a dedicated, talented cycling team that embodies the firm’s own work ethic and drive for success.

For more information, please contact Team Director Lisa Hunt at [email protected].

• See the team website: TeamValueActCapital

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