KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo rider Cory Lockwood has had a whirlwind of a season racing and training with the team. This past weekend, he traveled to Northern California to race the San Ardo Road Race. Below you will read his exciting account of the day:
“The San Ardo Road Race is a great cycling event on the Northern California and Velo Promo late season race calendar. The Pro field raced a total of 4 lap to equal 90 miles, with a separate slight rising sprint finish. The course was flat and rolling with a couple of small kicker hills. There was some flat cross wind sections that added selectivity to the race.
With an 8:00AM start time, it’s an early bird start to help the racers beat the mid-day heat in San Ardo California. All the racers were out on course within the hour. The 2016 addition of San Ardo saw a decent turn out of riders and some pleasant overcast weather conditions for the early morning laps of the race.
After a brief riders meeting to discuss the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the race and a short neutral roll out, we were down to racing. The opening sections of the road race, which included some brief rises in the road, presented an opportunity for some aggressive early race moves by several riders. All of these moves, though aggressive and well played, were quickly absorbed by a fast moving race field. Once we past the short opening climb, we entered a section of rollers which hosted brief areas of alternating head and cross-wind sections. Several more attacks mounted here, but with the field still very fresh and a non-compatible combination of riders in the moves, break yet again absorbed.
There were several teams represented in the race. The largest in numbers being the Fig Mountain Brew Racing Team, the Core Techs Elite Team, Tru Trace 3 Racing Team and the AMain Team. For a breakaway to be successful and not be chased down, most or all of the teams would have to be represented in the break away. Being a solo rider for the KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Team, I saved myself for the right opportunity and waited for a good combination of racers to form a break.
Photo Credit: Danny Munson
After 15 or so miles of repeated attacks and counter attacks, an opportunity to strike started to arise. A breakaway formed with a small gap and it contained one rider from most of the major teams. I knew it had potential, so I looked for the team that did not have a rider in the break and waited for them to attempt to bridge across. Once that team attacked, the two of us rode across to the lead group, making it a 6 man breakaway. Immediately, we started to work together and within the completion of lap 1, we had a 50 second gap on the peloton.
All was smooth in the breakaway with everyone working and taking pulls at the front to increase our race lead until the A Main rider represented in our group of 6 was unfortunate enough to receive a flat tire which slid him and his team out of contention. Once this happened, it created an unstable situation in the peloton because now their team wanted another guy in the breakaway. Because of this, they got to the front of the pelaton and started to chase. For the next lap, the remaining 5 riders of the break (David Priest of Fig Mountain Brew Racing Team, Jeffrey Buschech of Davis Bike Club Elite Team, Darin Morgan of Core Techs Elite Team, John Janneck of Tru Trace 3 Racing and myself), held off the pelaton lead by Amain Cycling Team.
As we passed the half-way point of the race and after lots of hard work, we were able to slip free of the peloton’s chase and had increased our lead to 1:30 over the chasers. We were now 4 riders in the break, Priest, Buschech, Morgan and myself. But it was not smooth sailing for long! Shortly after, a chase group of 4 riders were trying to bridge to across to us. None of us wanted to give up our 1 in 4 chance of winning the race, so we fought back again. It wasn’t until the last half lap of the race that we were confident we were no longer in danger of being caught.
With remaining in the race, all the stood between us and the finish line was several small rolling hills, a big tail wind and a moderate rising sprint finish. I knew that for me to have success I would need to play my hand a little earlier then my fellow racers in our group of 4. I began to test the other 3 riders as quietly as possible to see who had what left in the tank for the race finale. After sizing up the group, I positioned myself in the pace line of 4 where I had the best chance of creating a gap when I attacked. I waited for a small rise in the road where I could use my momentum and sling out of the group. I attacked out of the saddle with force and with my first acceleration, I was able to separate myself from the group and slightly break up the rhythm. My initial attack put Morgan in distress as he put his head down and fought honorably and as hard as he could. We had over 80 mile of pace-lining in our legs, but there was still a lot of fight left in everyone as Priest and Buschech were able to ride back onto my wheel. So after a brief rotation, I attacked again and was able to split the two of them but then yet again they both fought back onto my wheel. At this point, I knew I had to dig really deep. I gave it another attack and after 30 second of a brutal effort, I was able to break free.
With a momentary split from the group, I was able to establishing a small gap and put my time trialing skills to work. With about 5K to go and a couple second gap I knew that I could stay away. I relied on my 4iiii PrecisionPower Meter and rigidity of my KHS bike, along with the streamlining of my JLVelo riding gear and the cool low wind resistance design of my Kali Tava Helmet, to slice me to the finish.
Once I made that final left hand turn at 200 meters, I was able to take a breath from pushing watts and take a bow. KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo was able to take a victory at San Ardo to add to an already great and successful season of racing. KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo plans to do some more late season racing, watch For the guys this Saturday and Sunday the 27th and 28th at Mount Whitney Stage Race in lone pine California.
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, Infinit Nutrition, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, 4iiii, Big Wheel Coaching, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.