Winning the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM in 2018 is only one the many feats Katie Hall has accomplished since she moved to the Golden State 12 years ago.
It’s quite the understatement to say that California has had a major impact on the life of Katie Hall (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team). And there is no doubt that in return the Golden State has welcomed an incredibly talented woman, who managed to complete her master’s program in molecular toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as shining on the highest level of racing, with the overall victory in last year’s Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM.
“I’ve been in California for 12 years now”, the Washington-born champion says. “It’s my home and I feel so strongly that California is great and I also want others to see it. It’s a beautiful landscape and really wonderful people. And also the diversity of California is one of the coolest thing. It’s sort of a country with people from all around the world. I love it.”
Among its many perks, “Northern California has a very rich cycling scene”, Katie Hall adds. “I started racing in junior school, it was a really wonderful experience. That’s how I discovered I could be good.” That’s actually another understatement: Katie Hall has proved on Californian roads that she was not only good but extremely talented, with an impressive record since she first participated in the World Tour event, in 2015.
At 28 years old, Katie Hall wasn’t the youngest rookie when she got to the start with the UnitedHealtcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team and tackled a demanding stage looping around Lake Tahoe. But she was the most efficient, clinching a memorable victory on day 1! “We were a domestique team facing a bunch of World Tour teams, I went in that stage with no expectation”, the reigning champion remembers. “It’s only with 800 metres to go that I realized I could win and it was like: ‘Oh my God, go!’ I had no idea I could do this…”
Katie Hall’s ability to shine in the Amgen Tour of California has since been well established, with two more stage wins in South Lake Tahoe - “I love skiing and biking there, being on these roads I know, with my friends and family, makes the Amgen Tour of California extra special for me” - and epic battles in the top tier of the overall classification capped off with her victory last year in 2018 - “the biggest win in my career”.
“I still feel confidence from that victory”, Katie Hall says a year later. “It gave me the experience of having the pressure to win, and actually winning. I was able to trust the process that I can win. From the year before [she had finished 2nd to Anna Van der Breggen due to a time bonus on the last day], I wanted to put myself out of bonus-seconds range. The point was to take a stage win and then get as much time as possible. I’ve learned my lesson from 2017!”
“My teammates were critical”, Katie Hall adds about her success. She was still riding with UnitedHealtcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team at the time, and has now made a move to Boels-Dolmans, the Dutch powerhouse that dominated the race in 2016 and 2017. “I think I’m not the only rider in the team that can win the race”, she laughs. “That’s really reassuring. And I’m excited to bring the girls in California.”