I know on Sunday over 85 warriors lined up to compete for the coveted SCNCA Masters Crit State Championship. The day brought a bit of a twist for me because I had to race without any teammates, and I must admit, I was a little nervous and a tiny bit scared. All the teams that I’ve been battling against all year had numbers: Helen’s, Cal Pools, LaGrange, and the always tough Monster Media/MRI boys were. My game plan was to surf through the field and cover any moves, and to pay close attention to John Wike (Get Crackin’-MS Society) and Michael Johnson (Breakaway from Cancer), as they were racing solo as well, yet they’re always ready for war come game time.
Prior to the race I got in a good warm up to get the blood flowing to the legs, which is always key for me. My good friend Rahsaan Bahati was there and as I was at my car he gave me some pointers which I planned to us. He said, “You’re going to have to lay it on the line and cover every move alone and hope you get some help. If it doesn’t work, then at least you went down swinging.” So I did just that – covered the dangerous moves, recovered when the pace was high as it is hard for a move to roll when we are doing 28 to 30mph.
I had Jamie Paolinetti and Kayle Leo Grande from Monster Media/MRI on my high alert list because I knew they can stick a break very easily. Luckily, I had a couple of angels by my side that were willing to help me out in the race. That’s why it often pays to be kind and nice to everyone you compete against. As it got later into the race I made sure to stay near the front, which was a good thing because Paolinetti tried several times to shake loose but it did not work. Patrick Bos (Spy) was very active the whole race which I noticed so I made sure to watch him as well.
As we got down to lap cards Monster Media/MRI took control and kept the pace high, but I noticed Paolinetti and Johnson were not up front at this point so I yelled loud to the field to watch for the sneak attack by one of them like they did at a race three weeks ago, where Johnson took the win. Personally, I refuse to get beat the same way twice. It is important as racers that we always remember how we lost a race so you can do your best to not let it happen again if you can control it.
At three laps to go I wanted to get Leo Grande’s wheel as I could see Monster Media/MRI was setting him up, but his teammate, Brian Cook, would not let me have it. I don’t believe in fighting for wheels because it normally leads to wasted energy. So I waited and going into turn three I saw a crack so I pounced on it and got Leo Grande’s wheel leading into the last turn. “Sweet,” I thought to myself. I waited until the sprint opened up and began to wind up and then jumped on the right and was able to seal the deal and collect win number twelve, and back to back State Crit titles.
Big props to Kayle Leo Grande and Mike Easter (Time Factory Team) for making the podium with me. Also, thanks to Paramount Cycling club for putting on this event, and all the other riders who lined up for the title.
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