Remember learning about the Civil War in school? North verses South. So many left on the battlefield, so many battles. The North won, right? Well, this one is a little different. A few Southern California guys from Monster Media powered by MRI decided to travel to Northern California and fight. Seven men (and some brought their families) drove up to Monterey with one goal in mind…take on the North (and anyone else there), and win the 3 battles of Sea Otter.
Day 1…Battlefield: The Crit. Fifty minutes on a portion of Laguna Seca Raceway with two turn arounds and a little mound in the middle with which to contend. The MMMRI (Monster Media powered by MRI) guys started off strong. Attack first lap by Chris. Attack second lap by Karl and Brian. Field strung out chasing behind for one lap. More MMMRI attacks, then Phil goes solo. Race over. The North did not have a response to Phil’s solo time trial of 30 minutes. He went on to win the first battle with teammate Chris, taking second, coming out of a four man chase group. Great teamwork and results by the rest, Karl 6th, Brian 7th, Elan 8th.
Day 2…Battlefield: The Circuit. First posted 90 minutes of racing on Laguna Seca. Promoters decided there would be too much carnage with the 180 foot climb, 11 turns, and 18% drop-off race course to have the masters 35+ out of 90 minutes. It was changed to 75 minutes well before the race start. As it turned out, the officials decided that there was too much carnage happening on the race course and cut the time to only 60 minutes. MMMRI guys made some of that carnage happen. Strong race by all the guys, covering moves and making moves happen. Chris was away for most of a lap, Karl away for a lap, attacks and covers by Shane, John, Elan, and Brian. Then once again, Phil decided to turn this circuit race battlefield into a one man fight, solo tt. He attacked on the steepest part of the climb, no one from the North could respond. However, it was not all the way to the finish. The North was not going to lay down that easily. A tough attack from the North and the South does not respond. Phil sees the guy coming; with a few laps to go and the wind, he makes the choice to have a partner for a little while. Last lap, the battle was back on. Phil goes for the jugular and makes the kill to gain separation on the steep climb. Two battles, the South (Phil on MMMRI) wins again. With the field down to about a third of what it started with, Chris covers a move the last time up the climb. He gets away with one other rider and wins the battle for third. Karl fights the field for 6th.
Day 3…Battlefield: The Road Race. When I think of Socal racing, I think mostly of industrial park crit. Most weekends there are flat somewhat boring crits. I keep hearing how NoCal has many weekends where there is a crit one day and a road race (most of them climbing) the next day. MMRI knew it was going to be a tough day with all the climbing on the course, and with climbing experts ready to take down the team from Socal that had won the previous two days. The team stepped up to the challenge. Solo break for a lap by Chris on lap one. He did not even know what the roads of the battlefield had in store for him; it was his first time on this course. Luckily for him, 7 laps all started with the hardest steepest climb, so he had already seen that. Once caught more attacks from the team, more covering moves. It was no secret to anyone there that MMMRI had one rider that was on amazing form and could climb like no other, but was the South content on this one rider, Phil, coming up with the goods at the end of a hot long hill top finish of a road race? No. More attacks. After the climb with 3 to go, John strung out the field. Chris attacked. Karl and Brian attacked. Chris and John attacked. Karl attacked and the field put out the white flag. They had had enough, Karl was gone. As Chris put it, “he had 40 seconds in about…40 seconds.” The time gap a half lap later was 1:20 at the bottom of the climb with 2 laps and the finish climb to go. Karl cramped in the feed-zone, having to coast almost to a stop, but kept battling, after all he knew the white flag that was raised earlier would be taken down by the north. With one lap to go, Karl was still fighting his own battle with the field nowhere in sight. Still with not seeing the charging field behind, Karl finished the laps and started the 5km climb to the finish. The official came by and said there was a few minutes gap. Just keep it steady and the solo break will work for the third MMMRI win. Just before 1 km to go, one rider who was riding solo in second for some time, bridges the gap, but the field nowhere to be seen. The official must have been incorrect with his timing; the climb was not that steep yet. Karl sits on this rider, the steep short section comes with about 700 meters to go, Karl cramps, but still is able to pedal. Just hoping there is not an attack because there would be no chance to respond. In Karl’s mind, “No attack sweet, made the steep part, sit down, cramp gone, still sitting on the wheel, looking back, riders coming up, when to go, can not go to early because no much left in tank; 200 meters, look back, field coming, 150 meters, time to go.” Karl went inside 150 meters and opened 5 bike lengths right away for the win. Phil came up with the goods too. His hard sprint to the line had him finishing on Karl’s wheel for second.
This battle…3 Days of Sea Otter went to the South, with Monster Media powered by MRI winning all three days. Many more battles before the war will be decided.
By Karl Bordine