The Volkswagen of Oakland GP would be the last race before retirement for NorCal’s pretty boy, Rand Miller. Everyone likes him, and we are all surely going to miss him.
The highly technical course wound between downtown Oakland’s highrise buildings and across horrible roads. Our team’s goal for the day would be to put Rainier Schaefer in a break and separate him from a few SoCal powerhouse sprinters that showed up.
The main break of the day went from less than one kilometer into the race and contained Team Mike’s Bikes teammate Tyler Brandt, Chuck Hutcheson (Marc-Pro, Strava), Rand Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), and Julian Martinez (Fremont Bank). With twenty-five laps remaining (out of forty), Miller and Hutcheson made a concentrated and successful effort to drop Brandt from the break. Not sure why they did that, I heard it had something to do with prizes for primes, but nonetheless it caused us to put our entire team on the front to chase them down.
To Miller’s and Hutcheson’s credit, they were riding like freight trains. We chased for seventeen laps, each of us blowing up more than once before coming back after a quick rest to continue pulling. With seven laps to go, we were finally able to catch Miller and Hutcheson and the race was back together once more.
The counter-attacks came and went. I focused on trying to recover because I was pretty cracked from chasing. Jonathan Teeter (Marc-Pro, Strava) had been riding strong all day and had attacked and was developing a gap, so I attacked and tried to bridge with four laps remaining. Dirk Himley (Echelon) and Rob Evans (McGuire) joined me, and we caught Teeter with two laps to go, the peleton nowhere in sight thanks to my team blocking and riding purposely slow tempo.
I had been doing insane amounts of work chasing all day and incredibly tired. There was no way would I do any serious work with these riders, especially with our rider Schaefer back in the peleton and perfectly fresh. Evans and I are good friends as well and so we made a non-aggression pact: I’d attack, he’d use Teeter/Himley’s chase as his lead out, and one of us would be guaranteed to win.
Starting one lap to go, Teeter attacked and Evans and I followed. He carried his attack for a bit with Evans and I on his wheel, Himley far enough back to be out of my draft, but still in contention.
As soon as Teeter slowed, I knew he’d be tired from attacking and Himley would be tired from chasing after out of our draft. I opened a small gap, took a run at them, and attacked into the hairpin with a half lap to go. This allowed me to get some quick distance between us, which I carried all the way to the finish for the win.
Evans rolled his tire in the final corner, managed to keep it upright, but lost second and third because of it. Teeter came in for second, with Himley right behind for third.