Devil’s Punchbowl 35+
This was my first time ever hitting this road race that I have heard so much about and didn’t feel I had a good grasp on what the race was about and what exactly the course entailed. Of course I looked at the course map, profile and Strava segments but until I ride it for yourself it is still just an assumption. I even questioned teammate Chris Demarchi and the first words uttered were “its hard” , and if you know Chris you take him seriously when he says that! With only myself and 3 other team members I knew it was certainly going to be hard race.
The race started out mellow cruising up the first climb at a good med pace and as we became closer to the summit of the climb of course like clockwork the pace starts to quicken slightly shedding off only a few in the process. Next was the long descent then rollers back which saw our Monster Media Team throwing attacks that couldn’t be ignored forcing others to chase and then a grade back up to the finish. This continued until entering lap two and we got back on the climb which started again at a medium pace but as we moved closer to the summit the pace started to quicken and like clockwork attacks started. Riders from Amgen and Helen’s were leading the charge making for a small break of 3 and another 4 were chasing that bridged up toward the bottom of the descent. I was sitting just one of the group of 7 and didn’t necessarily like the odds of that even though I felt comfortable on the climbs and course that day. So when I saw a group chasing that included my teammates I was relieved and sat in until they caught us making for a pretty good size group.
I knew that race wasn’t necessarily won on the climb but could definitely be lost on it and I wanted another Monster Media team member with me on the last lap. The third time up again saw the pace quicken and riders started cracking so I crested the top with only a small group that but I knew Chris Demarchi wasn’t far back and wanted him with for the finishing lap and as I thought he bridged on the long descent making the teams odds for the win double. Across the rollers attacks were rolling and we made sure to stay towards the front keeping all in check. Finally we made the turn for the final climb to the finish and the Allegiant team was keeping the pace high shedding some in the process and as we started to move inside 500 meters KB from Surf City was at the front throwing down and I was attached to Chris’s wheel as sprints started on the narrow road but I sat and waited as I felt we were still too far out. Once a few strong sprints went by I decided it was time to go and going to the far right on the edge of the dirt was my only choice. It felt a little sketchy and the finish line wasn’t the easiest to pick out but my timing worked out taking the pack sprint by a only small margin. Chris ended up 4th making for great results for the team!