My Full Circle powered by Pure Gear and I headed up north to Livermore, an hour east of San Francisco, to race the 25th Annual Wente Vineyards Road Race. The course was a rolling 15-mile loop with five laps totaling 81 miles. Since we got into town late the night before, we did not have any time to ride or drive the course before the 8am start the next morning. After a quick stop by the local McDonald’s, not my first choice for breakfast, we were ready to roll.
I was hoping that because I was not from the area, I could fly under the radar in the race, but that was squashed quickly when guys on the starting line asked me, “You race on the road? I thought you were just a track racer.”
Not long after the race started, a break already went up the road. My teammate Patrick was in the break so I was able to just chill in the pack. On the loop’s biggest climb, most of the break came back but there were two riders that stayed away. I just kept following wheels hoping for a chance to get in a little move to bridge up.
After doing a lap, I had a good idea of what the course was like, so on the run up to the finishing climb, I attacked at the bottom to get the legs going. My plan was to take some guys across with me and join the two-man break. Mid-way up the climb, I looked back and I was by myself. I rolled with it until I was brought back by the field.
For the next two laps, I sat in the pack and had a little fun with one of the Mike’s Bikes riders that was put in charge to follow any attacks since they had a guy in the break. I would accelerate as if I was attacking, but be only doing a 70-percent effort, and then shut it down. I was trying to get rid of some of their riders because they had a full team and I was down to one teammate in the front group.
A little bit later, going into the last lap, three guys rolled off the front and were gone. At this point I was feeling great and did not want to be racing for sixth place. I knew it was going to take something gutsy to get up to the, two groups ahead. I just sat in and waited for a while doing nothing. A lot of attacks were trying to go, but with five guys up the road nothing was going.
On the backside of the course, there was a really steep hill. It was so steep that we were crawling as we crested it. Just before the top I put it all out there. I knew that if I drilled it until the decent I could stay away. As I started the decent, I looked back and saw one rider, a Marc Pro-Strava guy, trying to get to me. I thought one guy would be great for the open flat section so I made a jester to him that I was waiting for him to get to me. Once he was on I started to take long hard pulls with him. When we were on the open part of the course, I could see the group of three ahead. Just as we caught them, they were catching the break. It was perfect timing.
Now we were a break of seven but I was out numbered with two Mike’s Bikes riders, two Marc Pro-Strava riders, and a Cal Giant rider. I was near the front and decided to fall back as there was another guy with us that was just hanging on. I asked if he knew the stronger riders in the break. He told me the riders to watch.
As we hit the climb I saw that we all were not going to stay together. Guys were already hurting. On the final climb, the Cal Giant rider attacked and I followed with a Marc Pro-Strava rider. The Cal Giant rider fell back and then it was just me and Spencer Collum (Marc Pro-Strava). He made a move but was not moving too fast so I felt pretty comfortable. I decided to push a little bit to see if he would follow. Once I saw he wasn’t on my wheel I punched it and took the win with about 10 bike lengths.
It was a great feeling to finally win a race this season. I have been finishing inside the top ten all season and to get a win on a hill-packed course with a finishing climb made me feel really good. From riding on the track most people think and see me as a sprinter but I think I have proven that I am far from that.