Long Beach St. Patrick’s Day Criterium: Men Pro 1-2
by Mike Herdman (Rokform Rock N Road Cyclery)
It was a great day of racing with nice weather and light winds. This course can have a considerable headwind on the backstretch, but not this year. We had a full field with over one hundred racers, including a couple of local pro teams showing off their colors and race strategy. The race started fast right from the gun with a flurry of attacks that the peloton quickly chased down.
Around 5 laps into the race, approximately 15 riderswere up the road with 10 seconds on the peloton. Almost every team was represented, with some having two riders in the break. Rokform Rock n Road had our big diesel Evan Stade keeping tabs on the break. CashCall had Michael Weicht, a talented German Rider who can do it all. Chris Demarchi from MRI was in the break helping a number of talented young riders to keep the pace hot. They had the horsepower to stay away, to say the least.
Unfortunately, since the break was so large, it began to attack itself and split 30 minutes into the race, leaving a youthful four including Full Circle Cycling’s talented 20-year-old Dion Smith and an unknown youth from MRI U23.
Back in the peloton, CashCall was laying down the law with waves of vicious, 2-rider attacks. I caught wind of this and jumped on for an exciting 20-minute ride that consisted of getting gapped off multiple times. Our group ended up catching the chase group of 4 that had Shawn Daurelio from Full Circle Cycling, Chris Demarchi from MRI, Michael Weicht from CashCall, and the young MRI Endurance U23 rider.
At that time I was thinking great. The 5 CashCall riders will do the majority of the work and pull Dion Smith’s break back. With 3 laps to go, there will be a flurry of attacks and CashCall will ride off the front with two riders to take a one/two on the podium.
I was wrong. As soon as we caught Demarchi’s break, it was attack after attack; so much so that the 15-20 seconds we had on the field disappeared.
With 5 laps to go, everyone expect Dion Smith and a U23 rider were back in the peloton. CashCall took control from there for Justin’s lead-out. I still had a little fight left in me and I told Michael Tettleton (our sprinter) to follow me. On the sheltered part of the back stretch, I punched it to move up ten spots. I waited a second and gave everything I had left to give Michael some momentum into the last turn. He started his sprint into the turn, but unfortunately he got caught by CashCall’s Justin Williams and MRI Endurance Elite U23 rider Jose Aguire somewhere on the straight.
ent. It was fun. Lastly, thank you Cycling Illustrated for this awesome platform and giving me the chance to share the race from my eyes!