Wonderful Pistachios Pro Cycling folded after 2012, and I consider myself lucky to have been able to ride on a UCI team for two years. Through some good fortune I got connected (thanks to AZ road racing legend Rob Alvarez) to a local group of criterium racers starting a new, small team. We are called Body By Vi presented by VeloVie. Body By Vi is a nutritional supplement and fitness challenge company, VeloVie is a bicycle manufacturer.
Yesterday was my first race of 2013, the Avondale Criterium; a less-than-1 kilometer, clockwise, oval style course which I have prior experience with after racing the 2009 and 2010 editions. I remember the rainy 2010 version fondly. Marcotte double-lapped the field, Cole House kicked me in the face with 200m to go and I finished 5th. This year I drove to Phoenix with my girlfriend Lindsey and a cooler full of snacks. We really like snacks. At the race my teammates were Brian Forbes, Nathan Mitchell, and Craig Streit. For strategy we all decided that we would try to be aggressive, but not too aggressive. It was a good plan and we took turns getting our riders in breakaways. Around halfway through the 70 minute race I was cruising at the back and noticed that a lot of other guys looked sort of tired. A well timed attack led to me getting up the road with George Cyrus(Landis/Trek), Isaiah Newkirk(Gateway Harley-Davidson/Trek), and Ryan Begley(Ritte Racing).
I sprinted George for a prime with around 20 minutes to go and we dropped the Ritte guy. At most our gap was 12 seconds, and we maintained that for a while. It felt like forever but we started seeing lap cards, counting down from 9 to go. Laps were taking right around a minute and us three in the break had a solid rhythm, each taking short 20 second turns in fast conditions: 70°F and almost no wind. The main field was chasing us, but we did the necessary accelerations to maintain a split with only minimal infighting, and came into the final lap with a four second lead. Coming out of turn three I looked behind and seeing that the main field was closing on us, I started sprinting immediately. I gapped George, Newkirk was on his wheel and we still had an advantage over the chasing bunch. I can not sprint for 800 meters and with 200 meters to go George was back on my wheel, with the finish line in sight, a slight uphill and slight headwind. This is what sprinters call a “very bad situation if you want to win a bike race”. I could not ride out of the saddle anymore and sprinted to the finish sitting down, George attempted to come around but I held him off by half a wheel!