By Ben Albracht
Course is a 4.3 mile loop. From start finish you have a tailwind with flat section for about a mile, then a roller but top is false flat, this section had minor crosswind. After a short descent, sharp right turn to the back side of course with several stair step rollers. There was a light headwind. Another right turn to longer descent and stronger headwind section. It then flattens out to a final right turn with about 300m to finish.
This was the first race of the year for newly formed ZIPZ CYCLING TEAM sponsored by Zip shoes, Landshark bicycles, Bicycles Plus, and Pactimo. At the starting line I was looking to see who to watch. Matt Carinio of Art’s Cyclery was in his new stars and stripes jersey with three supporting teammates it was pretty clear who to keep an eye on. Safeway had three strong riders and always races aggressively. Most other teams only had one or two riders. I was without teammates. This race usually is won by a break. This is my local course so I was hoping that would help. As expected Safeway and Art’s started sending guys right from the gun. Theobald (Safeway) would attack. Art’s would chase, then Eropkin (Safeway) would counter. Art’s was doing the same thing, sending Johnson or Hampton. A couple times both Art’s and Safeway went together I jumped on those, but the field wasn’t ready to let a break go on the first lap. Squadra and Lange Twins would be caught out and then pull the field back together. Lap2 on the first roller, Carinio (Art’s) jumped hard, Theobald (Safeway) was right on him. I gave a deep dig to follow but was a second too late. Theobald got Carinio’s wheel quickly. I wasn’t as fortunate. The two only had a few seconds on me and I had several seconds on the field but after the roller and short descent we made the turn on to the multiple rollers with a headwind. Now I knew I had to close the gap fast or I had no chance. By the top the pair had put time in me and the field was now closer than the break so I sat up. That ended up being the race. According to Theobald, Carinio jumped him with one to go on the first roller. He then soloed for the win. Theobald was second. In the field McQuaid (Thirst Bear) and Tedford (Squadra) were doing a lot work to keep the pace high. On the last lap Dapice (Audi) attacked on the first roller but was unable to split the field. So he sat up once it flattened out. There was a weak counter but with the short descent it was quickly closed down. Then on the back side rollers Dapice attacked again but in to the headwind. Again not much success. On the final descent Tedford went to the front and strung things out. Once we at the bottom Eropkin hit it hard and opened a small gap Holt (Bicycle Blue Book) was able to bring it together. At the final turn the field sprint opened up. I passed Safeway and Art’s to take the field sprint and third place.
Ben Albracht, ZIPZ CYCLING TEAM