The start to the second weekend of the SoCal Prestige Series wasn’t going so well for me. On Friday I woke up with a cold and was left unsure how things were going to work out come Sunday. Last week, the season opener, didn’t go as planned so I was looking forward to racing smarter at round two in Los Angeles. So much for a perfect weekend but I was willing to show up and see if I could overcome my cold and put in a good result.
It was the usual cast of characters at round two, minus Brent Prenzlow. I guess he’s allergic to L.A. The start of the race went like my weekend had been going so far – a little off. I hooked bars with Chris Jackson (Castex Racing p/b Felt) out the start and had to stop pedaling for a second to keep from going down. This left me in about 15th position going into the first turn. Not good. It was now time to go to work making up for the mistake. Luckily I didn’t panic and just worked my way through guys during the first lap. The course was a real fast drafting friendly course, so things stayed together a bit longer than usual, which helped.
As we made our way through the second lap I managed to hook back up with the front trio of Chris Jackson and Brandon and Kyle Gritters (Rock N’ Road). Not long after reconnecting, Brandon went to the front to press the pace and crashed coming out of a corner. Chris slipped by and Kyle and I were held up some. This really marked the start of the race. Chris saw the gap and hit the gas starting what would be a long solo effort. I took up the chase followed by the Gritters brothers. Brandon had some bike issues and had to pit to get a new bike. Meanwhile, Kyle slowed to help him out.
For the next four or five laps it was just a long TT for both me and Chris. He was really killing it and for the first couple of laps was building a solid advantage. I kind of thought that things might come back so I rode hard but steady. I didn’t want to crack like the weekend before. Coming back from his earlier crash, Brandon caught back to me with a huge effort. He was flying. He caught me with about two and half laps to go and for the next half a lap or so I followed his wheel. We were quickly cutting into Chris’ lead and it was looking like things would regroup. Then I bobbled remounting after the second set of stairs and Gritters was gone. Lucky for me once he caught Chris they didn’t want to work with each other and this allowed me to get back up to them.
Not long after we all came back together Gritters had his second bit of bad luck when he flatted with just over a lap to go. Leaving it to just Chris and myself. He had a slow leaking tire as well. It didn’t really cost him any time, but it just allowed me to take over control on the final lap because he had to pit. I did my best to ride smart and clean the rest of the way and plan my efforts right because I thought it was going to come down to a sprint as Chris had caught back up to me. I managed to come out of the final corner first and jumped hard. Chris slid out coming out of the corner and that was that – my first win of the season. Not how I thought the day was going to go but I kept working hard and things ended up going my way. I’m looking forward to more battle the rest of the year when I’m healthy and everyone else isn’t having bike problems.
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