The plan for this year’s SDSR was simple, keep a couple of us within a minute and a half in the TT, make the break in the RR to secure a top ten GC and then set up our sprinter to win the criterium. Despite my poor time trialing a top ten seemed an achievable goal. I’ve enjoyed good results this year due to my fantastic teammates and great support from Helen’s. I don’t have to stress about my bike or other equipment, Helen’s takes care of it for me. I don’t have to think about nutrition, Cytomax and Bonk Breaker keep me covered. This lets me focus just on the racing and that makes all the difference.
The plan worked as far as the TT went, I kept thinking about close finishes I’ve had in stage races and repeated to myself “Every Second Counts” the whole way up the mountain. Team Helen’s put Olly Hutchinson in 11th and myself in 13th, not too far back but definitely off everyone’s radar.
Pl Bib Name Team Time Bon(Pen) Behind
1 922 Napolitano, Rudolph TIME-VELO PASADENA 16:21.32 @ 0:00.00
2 944 McDonald, Christophe MRI Endurance Elite Masters 16:21.86 @ 0:00.54
3 939 Nunes, Craig ArtsCyclery.com 16:23.91 @ 0:02.59
4 914 Carinio, Matthew ArtsCyclery.com 16:29.32 @ 0:08.00
5 901 Douville, Gary MRI Endurance Elite Masters 16:39.08 @ 0:17.76
6 932 Easter, Michael TIME – Velo Pasadena Team 16:40.18 @ 0:18.86
7 908 Livingston, Adam SKLZ-Swami’s Cycling 16:51.18 @ 0:29.86
8 921 DeMarchi, Chris MRI Endurance Elite Masters 17:05.17 @ 0:43.85
9 960 Restuccia, Anthony MRI Endurance Elite Masters 17:14.25 @ 0:52.93
10 925 Tuttle, Jeffrey Michelob Ultra – La Grange 17:22.20 @ 1:00.88
11 916 Hutchinson, Oliver Team Helen’s / 8th Wonder Cycl 17:27.26 @ 1:05.94
12 959 TRAVIS, BEN Surf City Cyclery / Sterling B 17:37.70 @ 1:16.38
13 942 Brauch, Derek Team Helen’s / 8th Wonder Cycl 17:37.80 @ 1:16.48
For the road race we figured Monster Media, Time, and Arts Cyclery would be cancelling each other out and, as in years past, a strongman move would go on the KOM hill with one or two laps to go. We were wrong, as Monster Media and Time were willing to let Gary Douville (MM) and Michael Easter (Time) head up the road just past the halfway mark to battle it out. Soon the time gap was up to two minutes. This left Arts Cyclery scrambling but everyone was covering them. The pack took on a frenetic pace, fast on the climbs but then crawling on the flats. I gambled that my low GC standing would let me escape and after the penultimate trip up the KOM hill the pack came back together, everyone sat up, and I took off as hard as I could.
I was soon joined by Peter Andersen (SPY) and Victor Ayala (La Grange). The group let us go, and we had one lap to make as much time as we could. Peter took some extremely strong pulls, I did what I could and set tempo on the climbs, Victor hung in there making at first sounds of distress which eventually devolved into sounds of pure agony. We didn’t have to ask him how his legs were.
Peter and I finished the race 1:26 behind the winner (Easter) and 1:13 ahead of the field, moving me straight into the middle of a tight five way battle for 3rd. Team Time’s gamble of letting Easter, who had been trailing Douville going into the RR, escape with him had paid off as Easter had picked up the time bonuses necessary to just take the yellow jersey.
GC after RR:
Pl Bib Name Team Time Behind
1 932 Easter, Michael TIME – Velo Pasadena Team 2:35:04 @ 00:00
2 901 Douville, Gary MRI Endurance Elite Masters 2:35:12 @ 00:08
3 922 Napolitano, Rudolph TIME-VELO PASADENA 2:37:35 @ 02:31
4 944 McDonald, Christopher MRI Endurance Elite Masters 2:37:38 @ 02:34
5 939 Nunes, Craig ArtsCyclery.com 2:37:40 @ 02:36
6 942 Brauch, Derek Team Helen’s / 8th Wonder Cycl 2:37:41 @ 02:37
7 914 Carinio, Matthew ArtsCyclery.com 2:37:44 @ 02:40
For the criterium our plan was to try for me to get in a break just past the intermediate sprint point and pick up time on GC that way. Failing that I was to help our sprinter, Aaron Wimberley for the stage win. The race pace was scorching. At the midpoint Aaron killed himself and his chances for a stage win by moving me up into position for the sprint lap. Three, two and one seconds were on the table for the top three but considering how many people wanted them and the fact that I hadn’t had a top three in a crit in years we weren’t really thinking I could grab anything there, I just wanted to be far enough up to go with a move after the sprint. But Aaron did such a great job positioning me I realized I had a shot at getting a second or two. Down the back straight Kevin Phillips (Ironfly) picked me up and moved me right to the front for the last corner. From there I gave it everything I had to the line and Easter and Rudy were content to follow me and lock up the rest of the time bonuses. The three seconds had moved me into a tie with Chris McDonald (MRI).
I spent the rest of the race just hanging on, while my teammates worked to keep me from losing time. Olly went on to finish fifth and I stayed with the leaders, finishing eighth.
And I had been wrong during the TT, it wasn’t every second that now counted, it was every hundredth of a second that mattered as the tie breaker for fourth between myself and Chris McDonald came down to the fractions of a second in our TT’s, where I had a .80 and Chris had posted a .86, leaving us .06 seconds apart on GC:
Pl Bib Name Team Time Behind
1 932 Easter, Michael TIME – Velo Pasadena Team 3:14:31 @ 00:00
2 901 Douville, Gary MRI Endurance Elite Masters 3:14:46 @ 00:15
3 922 Napolitano, Rudolph TIME-VELO PASADENA 3:17:08 @ 02:37
4 942 Brauch, Derek Team Helen’s / 8th Wonder Cycl 3:17:12 @ 02:41
5 944 McDonald, Christopher MRI Endurance Elite Masters ” ”
6 939 Nunes, Craig ArtsCyclery.com 3:17:14 @ 02:43
7 914 Carinio, Matthew ArtsCyclery.com 3:17:18 @ 02:47
8 908 Livingston, Adam SKLZ-Swami’s Cycling 3:17:40 @ 03:09
9 921 DeMarchi, Chris MRI Endurance Elite Masters 3:17:49 @ 03:18
10 960 Restuccia, Anthony MRI Endurance Elite Masters 3:18:05 @ 03:34
The team had done everything they could for me all weekend and we were ecstatic to make the podium after having to fight for every inch. I was further honored to be named SDSR’s “Uninhibited Racer” award for M35+.