“Who gave Craig the Madison sling?”
Yeah, it probably looked like that from the finish line view for sure. But, it took a bit more work than that to get to that point.
Everyone on the team agrees, this is a great race. Well worth the drive. Some of us have had a chance to win a race here over the past several years this race has been put on. That makes for a great energy walking in. Hot and dry temperatures in Santa Clarita (Irvine in the desert) added an extra bit of work on this mostly flat with a small bump at turn 4 criterium course. Billy Harris, Bud Owens, Craig Miller, Frank Picarelli and your truly lined up for a 45 minute “lovefest” with the Break Away from Cancer boys as well as a few other strongmen such as Johnny Walsh (Spy Blue), Steve Klasna (Big Orange) and John Slover (Surf City).
The race started off at reasonable pace with attacks by Klasna and Walsh as well a Peter Sullivan (BFC) and Malcom Hill (BFC). Billy was active as well as Bud getting into moves a different times, but nothing would stick. Thurlow Rogers took a stab at it a few times, but the group would have none of it.
Towards the end of the race with about 7 laps to go, what looked like Malcom Hill and Robb Mesher and another rider had gained themselves a respectable lead and it was up to us to bring that back. Wanting to save our sprinters and get this move brought back with time to organize, I took threw myself on the sword and went to the front and brought this move back in one lap.
I thought that might be the end of the race for me, but I was lucky enough to get my marbles back and start crawling my way back towards the front to help with the lead out of Craig and Billy. But by then the speed was starting to lift as the BFC boys took the front of the group and began their lead of Rich Meeker. Oh man…this is gonna hurt. I chose the wind side and creeped up with one to go. On the back stretch I began my lead out as we head for turn four. Billy was trapped on the outside and could not make it over to the lead out. With Bert Glennon (BGM Sports) on my wheel and Craig Miller following close behind I punched it and went over the top of the BFC boys. Bells Ringing!! Made it through turn 3 and started to sprint towards turn 4 as the familiar rush of wind and sound of carbon wheels blew by me as if to say (in a familiar Crocodile Dundee voice): “That’s not a sprint…this is a sprint!”. NOW, my day is done. Craig came off of Bert’s wheel with a violence that can be only matched by a full throttle 79 Trans Am (6.6 liter with the bird on the hood of course) and spit out of the front of the group and quickly gained 30 meters.
The race was won right there and Craig just had to hold a reasonable pace to claim his second victory in as many weeks. Rich Meeker flew in for a second place and John Slover rounded out the podium.
Great race. Safe race. Won race. The way we Bubble boys like it.