Meet SCE’s World Champion Cyclist
“It’s the most miserable two and a half minutes you can imagine,” said Vikki Appel, a Southern California Edison senior advisor in IT Services. She’s describing the individual pursuit, a track cycling event consisting of a two-kilometer sprint against the clock.
Appel knows as well as anyone how difficult the race is because she’s the reigning world champion in her age group. Her margin of victory in the individual pursuit at the 2022 Masters Track World Championships in Los Angeles was just over one-tenth of a second. In fact, she won three gold medals in individual and team events, giving her the right to wear the distinctive rainbow-striped jersey signifying her status as world champion.
“For track cycling, this is the biggest event there is, and the achievement of what we did as a team is so much better than the individual award,” Appel said, recalling her second gold medal in the team pursuit event. “As a team, we figured out tactics that made us go much faster.”
Appel’s third gold came in the individual points race, which required advanced strategy and on-the-fly adjustments over 40 laps. Cyclists accumulate points based on time, and every 10th lap is an all-out sprint, with the final lap counting double.
“Track cycling is this oddball sport, but it’s where my passion is,” Appel said, noting that competitive cycling fits well with her career providing IT services support for SCE’s energy procurement and management and power supply groups.
“Vikki definitely tries to find win-win solutions for every circumstance,” said Appel’s supervisor, Lori Garris, SCE principal manager in IT Service Management and Operations. “She also enjoys taking on activities that have a strategic, first-of-a-kind flavor to them, as well as working with thought leaders who drive innovation and change.”
The values that have made Appel a world-class athlete align seamlessly with those that guide Edison International's corporate culture, particularly the values of excellence, continuous improvement and teamwork.
Appel overcame a significant challenge before winning her world championship races. Less than a year before the event, she was hospitalized with a broken pelvis suffered during another competition.
“When I was in the hospital, I thought about people I have seen come back from an injury. When that happens, something changes for them. I thought if I’m going to do this, I’m going to take it really seriously and see how it goes,” Appel said.
Clearly, it went well. In four previous world championships, Appel had never won gold. At SCE, she says the “wins” have been more frequent.
“Getting things done and working hard as a team makes the entire team better. I don’t have a manager job title, but I can lead through influence and with relationships, getting others invested, making sure the team element is there and giving people a reason to work toward a solution,” Appel said. “Just like in the velodrome, we are all really invested and as a team, we accomplish so much more together.”
A value even those without world-class talent can embrace.
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