Words by: Chris Barton
The last two years, the team has come very close to winning the Brentwood Grand Prix. Both times, the race came down to a field sprint and we were not quite fast enough to take the win. The best field sprinters in the state always show up to this race, so we decided this year we didn’t want to take any chances.
We planned to attack and attack until one of us rode clear of the field and hopefully held off the chasing sprinter’s teams. From lap one, our plan was under way. Efren Flores, Brian McCulloch, Shawn Wayland, and Ulises Castillo attacked over and over in the first 20 minutes, keeping the pace high and forcing our competitors to chase them down.
Despite our aggressive riding, two-time track cycling Olympian Bobby Lea was able to get away from us, and build up a 35 second lead on the field. Unhappy with the situation, all seven of us on KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo took to the front of the race in an attempt to reel in our competitor.
With all of us going full-gas, we were only taking back one or two seconds per lap, and we began to get worried. We kept driving away and eventually the gap began to go down quicker. After about 20 minutes of chasing, we had reeled in Bobby Lea. Now it was time for Dave Santos, Ule, Fabrizio Von Nacher, and I to attack the field.
We each took turns attacking, and each time our rivals were forced to chase us down. With 20 minutes left in the race, Bobby Lea attacked again with Fabi on his wheel. The pair quickly built up an impressive lead and it became evident that they would stay away until the finish. The rest of us in the field then got to catch our breaths a little and make sure no other riders bridged the gap to the leaders.
The pace remained high with the sprinters taking turns chasing down Fabi and Bobby, but it was in vain. Fabi out-rode Bobby Lea to take his well-deserved win and with an awesome lead-out from my remaining team-mates, I was able to finish 2nd in the field sprint and grab 4th place. A great day for the team made even better by Bonus Points: As this race was the state championship criterium, I ended up getting the silver medal behind state-champ Cory Williams because neither Fabi nor Bobby Lea are California residents.
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.
Follow the team on social media –