ATHENS, Georgia (VN) — The break from constant training and the tedium of one anonymous hotel room after another might have kept Tina Pic holding fast to retirement. But if that weren’t enough, the shattered collarbone she sustained (her fourth) during last year’s Tour of Elk Grove should have sealed the deal.
“I don’t remember anything [about how it happened],” the 46-year-old Pic said about the incident. “The guy in the ambulance told me ‘You were in a bike race.’ and I was like, ‘That was stupid, what was I doing that for?’ That was the last time I raced.”
As it turned out, the collarbone was shattered and it required Pic to undergo a longer surgery. But two months later she convinced herself that she might have another go at the sport that brought her six national titles, two gold medals at the Pan American Road Race Championships, and no less than five USA Cycling NRC Championships. Now, Pic and the rest of the Colavita-Fine Cooking women’s team return to racing on Saturday, March 23 at the Delray Beach Twilight Criterium, the second stop on the 2013 USA CRITS calendar.
Over the winter, Pic spent the majority of her time training in Georgia, despite having moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, with her husband and former pro Chris Pic. Coming out of the team’s recent spring training camp in Borrego Springs, Calif., Pic reported this week that while she felt fairly good coming into this season, she was not 100-percent sure about how her form will compare to where she was over the past few years.
“That’s the hardest thing,” Pic said, after a training ride in South Miami. “I don’t know. I could be ok fast, but I can’t tell until I get in there. Lots of times you just won’t know from what it says on an SRM.”
When Pic and the squad arrive in Delray Beach, Fla., her main role will be to do whatever amount of directing that she can do for her teammates out on the road. Without the use of radios, she feels it’s the only viable option left to get the best tactical info to her teammates.
“It’s easier to tell someone ‘Do this now,’” she said about helping to manage the action from a racing saddle. “They’re not reacting sometimes fast enough, so it makes such an impact when you tell them at the [precise] time. It’s just one of those things that when you’re doing it and someone is pointing things out, it’s much easier to learn than when someone tells you after the after the fact.”
Apart from Jen Purcell and Heather Sprenger, both who have raced with Pic in the past, the rest of the faces on Colavita will be new to the veteran racer. She feels, however that the team will have a fair number of cards to play once they roll to the line this season.
“We have a lot of sprinters,” she said. “But I’d say we have a pretty well-rounded team. I think that most of our riders who get into breaks can be a threat there, as well as having enough firepower left to [also] come out of the field.”
The women’s field will do 40 laps in Delray Beach for a total of 40 kilometers of racing at the second edition of the event, but that initial test may not be enough to determine how the remainder of Pic’s season will shake out or whether her comeback will endure past 2013.
“I’m not sure if these old legs are going to be able to do anything,” she said with a laugh. “I’ll need all the good luck vibes I can get. I think I can be helpful on the director end on the road to Iona [Wynter Parks, sport director], but I’m going to wait and see how it goes.”