NOW Energy Bar Criterium
by John Wike (Surf City Cyclery)
Masters 35 + crit. 100-plus riders from SSC/Sterling BMW, MRI, Metal Mtn, Velo Pasadena, Helen’s Cycles, Le Grange. So many teams out there these days.
The start of the race was fast with MRI taking control. My goal was to attack (pound or flail). Special K and I were able to get into a few breaks, but nothing happened until I put in a huge effort to establish separation from the peloton. That effort brought out Jamie Paolinetti and MJ (Michael Jonson) from MRI. We had a good group that worked well together, but it seemed like we all lacked a little fitness. So, there we were, flailing about, and sure enough the peloton caught us.
Rats! Oh, well. Lets go back to our race and close the deal.
With two laps to go, the race was slowly gaining speed. Then, with one to go, a small group got away with Robert Nam (MRI) off the front. They were still in sight going into the second to last turn when–POW–someone took out our captain Mark Scott. I took over going into the final corner, but R-Nam was just too far away to catch. Charon exploded off my wheel to just barely get 2nd. I closed the podium with 3rd.
We can’t win them all and we rolled away with great insight on our competition.
Pro 1-2 crit. Another 100-plus riders. The pro race allows me to race my race and to get into as many moves as my body will allow.
Racing in this aggressive style, I was able to pound in at least 7 breaks until, finally, I made the biggest break of the day with two Cash Call riders, Rahsaan Bahati (Bahati Foundation), and Pista Palace. The CC boys were drilling it on the tailwind section and Bahati and I were taking the “sprinter’s pulls” in the headwind. At one time, we gained 48 seconds and it looked like I’d made another winning move. But, after the CC dude flatted and we dropped a Pista Palace rider, our goose was cooked. I still was fully immersed in the dream of pulling out a V; until my hammy was locked and loaded, at least. But, while I was living the dream, my teammate Charon “The Beast” Smith was sun dialing in the group getting a free ride.
We eventually got caught with 15 minutes to go. The remaining 5 laps were totally crazy. I loved every minute, but as soon as I would sprint to the front, the hammy would lock.
All I could do was watch Charon finish 4th.
Watch out for SCC/Sterling BMW. We’re getting close and we just might crush a few dreams in future pro races! That was a long day for me; riding from Hermosa Beach to Carson, racing 2.5 hours, then riding into a headwind all the way home. My legs are still cooked and I lost another 3 pounds.
Race hard and take chances!