Boulevard Road Race Campo CA-
Words by: Ben Wolfe
The Boulevard Road Race is SoCal’s real season opener. You show up to the parking lot and the excitement and nerves are running high. Known for its “New England” like weather, you never know what to expect. This year we got lucky, it was high 40’s and only a chance of rain (I was still doing plyometric ‘s at the start to keep warm).
The whistle blew and we rolled down the parking lot of the Golden Acorn Casino. The first attacks flew almost immediately. Within 3 miles of the start, the break had formed with the bigger teams represented. At the bottom of the 11 mile descent, the gap was reported at “Um, maybe like 2-3 minutes” by a guy on the side of the road with a camera.
I got a little nervous. KHS-Maxxis pb JVELO were“blocking”; sitting 2nd wheel and not pulling through. Keegan Swenson (Sho-Air Cannondale) and a few other rides went and got a gap, then I hit it with Hunter Grove (Incycle – Cannondale Pro Cycling) and one other rider. We bridged across to the break and got there right at the KOM line. With that, the break was a little too big to work smoothly. We rolled through, a few guys got shed and then it started rolling smoothly.
We all worked very well together for the next 50 or so miles. Going into 1 lap to go, 3 riders bridged across including Jon Hornbeck (Hincape Racing Team). Once they came across, I asked how the field was feeling. Jon replied “Pretty shattered”.
The 12-15 of us who were in the front group knew that it was the winning move; and a lot of riders had become passengers. At the base of the descent, before the turn to the train tracks, with about 10 miles to go, I used my momentum to attack. I rolled by and set a tempo, turned around saw there was a gap. I put my head down and committed to the move. Knowing there was still a very hard 10 miles in front of me I paced it so I had some left for the final 5 miles up the hill to the finish.
Surprisingly it worked and the motorcycle came up to me with about 500 meters to go and told me there was a group of 4 at 45 seconds. I was super pumped to hear that, but didn’t ease up until the last 50 meters.
Hunter Grove won the group sprint for 2nd. What a rad way to opener the road race season. Here’s to some more bike racing!
Ben Wolfe races for Watsonville, CA. -base, California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized.