The Ladera Ranch GP is one of my favorite races of the year simply because it’s different from the typical crit. It’s somewhat technical with narrow roads which, puts your cornering skills to the test. It has two false flat sections which, does wear on you over the course of the race if you are active. I have done well on this course the last two years. I won last year and got second the year before that. But this Sunday was quite different.
The race was very hot; it felt like I was in Ontario or something. The temperature was between 90 and 100 degrees so you had to be really wise about the efforts you made throughout the race. We lined up with 53 men. A third of the field was from Monster Media/MRI; a few CA Pools guys; and the rest of the field were pretty much solo soldiers like me. A few of my teammates were up at Leadville and some took the weekend off, just due to the season coming to a close.
I figured Monster Media/MRI’s Jamie Paolinetti told his troops to attack the hell out of Charon since they can’t beat me in a sprint. So I rode the front all day which hurt but was the safest way to race this course. I’m glad I did because there was a nasty pile up about 15-20 minutes into the race. Eric Anderson from OTR took turn one too hot from what I was told and down he went along with five to six other guys. That caused a huge 15-20 men split, which I made.
We were working well but the heat started to kick in and riders caught behind the crash slowly began to regroup to us. Meanwhile Rudy Napolitano and Michael Johnson (Breakaway from Cancer) took turns hitting the field hard while Paolinetti was planning the winning move with teammate Chris DeMarchi. I knew it was coming but I had very little left in the chamber after covering move after move.
Sure enough, the move rolled with Paolinetti and DeMarchi. I was expecting CA Pools to cover it since they had the numbers but they did nothing. As we got down to lap cards I thought Napolitano was going to attack with a lap and a half to go and he did taking Phil Tintsman (Monster Media/MRI) with him. I wanted to go with them but these days it seems like when I move the whole peloton moves. I’m not sure if that is bad or good. Some guys don’t understand that the guys who get the results are the guys that work their butts off in training and racing. It is just like life. If you work hard you will reap the benefits, but some guys don’t want to work and still expect to get a good result. It doesn’t work like that in bike racing.
So with the winning move ahead of me, I rolled across the finish line in fifth. I was not upset I gave an honest effort racing against a 15-man team, but my teammates will be back in two weeks ready to roll. Racing solo has taught me I am stronger than I thought and my team clearly knows what it takes to win because when we show up with four to five guys our percentage of winning is very, very high.
Congrats to DeMarchi and the rest of his team for taking the win and riding a great race.