I can remember vividly back in 2008, before racing bikes, walking up to Mt. Tabor one day and stumbling onto a bike race. Amazed by the fast paced climbing circuit, more specifically James Ceccorulli’s classic early off the front moves, I recall saying, “Yeah I can do this bike racing thing.” Four years later, I took the overall series win in the Senior men’s field. It was a long six weeks of battles won, glory on the top and all that competitive drama. But thanks to my team in the final race last night, I was able to seal the deal and further my points lead. Here’s how it all panned out:
Week 1 and 2:
The first race was definitely an exciting one. It was the first time I had raced on my new Veloforma Strada SLR
. Getting used to the now amazing fit by Molly Cameron made me nervous. I have always had bikes that require my posture to stand up most of the time. Now I can sit comfortably and spin. Not to mention the difference in power output the Veloforma provides when you give it the gas: so awesome. I had a little bad luck the first race, missing out on the winning break with my best bud Peter Buco, being locked in middle of the field for the final sprint. With losses come reflection and learning. Now I knew what had to be done.
So much of racing has to do with who you’re watching out for. For me, I had done this race enough times in previous years to know that Colby Wait-Molyneux and John Browning were the champs of this course. What I forgot was Brendan Treacy’s victories last season. Treacy won the first race with a great, tactical breakaway; but now he was in my crosshairs. The second race was my favorite because no one knew what to expect from me. I understood what moves had won the previous race, so I made sure to be a part of whatever happened. Alas, everything lined up just as they had that last time, I got myself into a break with Treacy and his Team Oregon teammate Stephen Bedford near the last lap, and I took my first 1/2 win.
Week 3 and 4: Holding My Own.
This is where the work began. I wasn’t going to move around as easily now given my win the week previous. These next two races really panned out in the same fashion: Make sure to be in good position up front and aggressive the whole race, yet save juice for the final go. Everything worked out pretty well, except I was always miscalculating the power of big sprinters on this course. Steven Beardsley then Bedford started their sprints early, and I was next behind them both weeks.
Week 5: The Hurt.
Now I had first overall; people were on to me. The fifth race was definitely the most aggravating. Being by myself and having a few large teams working against me can make anyone go crazy. I had a realization during this race that I might as well work as hard as possible to keep everything together and hope I have the legs in the end. That’s what I did, and it seemed to work. Bedford had an easy breakaway with about five laps to go, and his team was working the field, keeping it steady. When I overheard his team discussing tactics for a fourth and fifth place sprint. I knew I had to go, so I ended up bridging the 25-second-ish gap with a long trail of following riders. Once we all got back together, the not-surprising counters followed and we all worked to maintain. In the end it was a bunch sprint, and I used what was left to get third behind Bedford and his teammate, still secure in my place on the top for the overall.
Week 6: The Big Guns.
With two weeks to plan (there was no race on July 4th), I realized my race would most likely end up as it had in week 5 if I didn’t have any help. Double points on the line made this race anyone’s game. “Well who could help me?” I pondered… “Oh right: My team of diesel track machines.” So I made a plea, ”Help me, Sizzle Pie/Veloforma, you’re my only hope.”Thinking I would get one or two guys, all four showed up, making it the first time all five of us have raced together. Things were looking real good.
All the way up to the race I was trying to really not think about it. A couple hours before game time, I think I ate about half a bag of lemonheads and took two naps. Once my team showed up all the pressure faded. If you saw us all together – matching bikes, kits and helmets – oh boy, you’d better watch out.
The goal was to get me the series win. So we did all the work needed to make that happen, nothing more, nothing less. The team tactics worked beautifully. I was able to hang near the front without putting myself in a position to be burnt, confident my team was watching out for me. At the same time, I knew that my team would be keeping an eye out for any of my rival threats. They did just that with such precision that writing about it makes me giddy.
In the end, Trevor Spahr (Ironclad Performance Wear) made a solo break with three or four laps to go, and he had a couple fast guys popping off his wheel slowly. “Great, he’s won” I thought. Knowing his legs, we weren’t about to get him back.
Getting into position in the final lap, I hear my teammate Zak yell “Go! Go!” super early. Assuming he had no idea what this sprint was like, I disregarded him for about 2 seconds, then thought, “whatever” and went for it. I looked to my right and Bedford is coming up on my right fast. He gets in front of me, but I am feeling the best I have the whole series for this sprint. Before I know it, the always punchy Austin Arguello (Team Oregon) comes around my left, I jump on his wheel and grind away in that position for third. Without any threats in front of me, I was able to pop my score up 100 points, keeping my lead in the series.
After the race, we all rolled over to Hungry Tiger Too for $1.25 corn dogs. Post race food is quite possibly the best food, regardless of what you’re eating. Now I have 1 year to gloat, and reminisce. :)
Thanks for reading.