Poor College Kids Road Race 35+
What a great course and weather to match for the kick-off road race of the year. The first road race of the year has everyone showing up in new kits with something to prove, or just hoping his winter training was enough to get him through the day. Looking at the start list was a bit intimidating, counting up the current national championships and surveying the talent in the 35+ field.
Going into the race, I knew we had our hands full. With many teammates ill, we had a small but effective team with me, Gary Douville, Tomo Hamasaki, Brian Cook, and newcomer on the squad Tony Restuccia. It made for a very level playing field looking at the other teams. Coming off of our team camp the week before, I knew the team we had was in good form for January so I felt confident going into the race.
The race started fast and, barely 6k in, attacks started going. With the wind and pace both high, they weren’t coming back so I knew I needed to go and bridged to the front (dragging a tagalong in the process, but we do what we need to do). Eventually the break became bigger and bigger and at the end of the lap it was in the high teens. Having 3 of my teammates with me was reassuring, especially since Gary and Tomo were hard at work on the front and we knew Brian was holding the field at bay. Our gap became bigger each lap and the pace stayed high. Tomo flatted, putting him out of the race, which was a big blow to the team but we still had 3…
Then the attacks began with Rudy Napolitano launching ,and I have to give credit to Matthew Carinio and his Art’s Cyclery Team for going to the front as we worked together to bring him back. And then Marco Arocha went. Tony had a slow leak taking him off of the lead group narrowing our team down to 2. Gary Douville is looking like his old self these days and if it wasn’t for his hard work drilling it on the last lap we may not have brought Marco back.
Then I found myself along with Mike Easter going into the final climb 4 or 5 seconds ahead of the field at the bottom of the climb. At the top I was riding solo with a little over 10 seconds on Rudy and 15 seconds on the chase group of 5. I realized quickly in the wind I wasn’t going to hold those strong men off in the 4K to the finish, so eventually it all came back together and became a cat and mouse game of non-stop attacks. Coming into the finish, wind was a big factor and I knew Easter would be a huge threat as well as Brauch from Helen’s, as he never really hit the wind all day and has a bit of pop in his legs. Craig Nunes kept the pace high and we started the sprint with Rudy taking Mike Easter to the front. From where I was positioned, I had to squeeze between the guardrail and Rudy then cross over to the middle to come around Easter and Brauch in the middle. This made for a very sketchy sprint that happened to work out in my favor, taking the first win of the season for the MRI Endurance pb Monster Media team! I felt like I needed to close the deal after all the team did to put me in a position to win, making for an awesome TEAM effort with a great result!