Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cantua Creek Road Race - 35+ Category 4 - First and Fifth!

Cantua Creek Road Race is not one for the climbers: A flat out-and-back course along Interstate 5, with a few rollers some could call a "climb" just before the finish area (a couple of miles with a net 2.5% elevation gain, with three bumps maybe 5-7% grade).

Matt Sloan and myself (Stefano) got to race HQ after a 2.5h drive, frankly too much for my taste (as it also implied a very early wake up time, the races started at 8AM). Minimal warm up, quick discussion of team strategy (control at the front, watch out for the "One Way" team, which had 5-6 riders, don't let anybody break away, attack at the base of the final climb with 2 miles to go).

The 35+ Cat 4 was the biggest field of the day, more than 30 registered, ~25 starting. Team One Way did try to pull away starting at the very beginning, but Matt and I, and a couple other guys, railed in every attempt and, as planned, patrolled the front. I would guess with some authority: at some point the two of us were cruising at the very front side by side, decided to ease up the pace not to waste energy, and for a while nobody was willing to pass us and take the lead, until the Ref kindly invited us to pick up the pace to avoid being passed by the women's field...

The whole peloton stayed together for the entire 2 laps/50 miles, until we approached the last IS 5 overpass, and the spot where Matt and I had agreed to unleash hell. Which we did, quite successfully. Unfortunately Matt missed my wheel, and got stuck between me and the chasing peloton. A rider who was at the very front when I went did manage to stick to my wheel for a while. I kept going full throttle and tried hard to drop him, in vain for the first mile or so. I attacked hard at every bump and tried to keep the momentum going on the rollers. In the final couple of bumps I saw his wheel losing contact, and he was quickly gone. The chasing peloton managed to catch him, and unfortunately also Matt, who, however, stuck to the front and was fourth (5th overall) in the sprint.

All in all Cantua was a great learning experience, although the race course is not at all interesting (barring the awesome blossoming almond trees), too far away, and the supposed "$100 prizes" were in fact pink tee-shirts for the first 6... It was absolutely great to figure out a strategy and to implement it successfully! Too bad Matt couldn't catch my wheel at the beginning - in retrospect I should have made sure he was on my wheel at the very beginning of the attack, while in fact he was not right behind me: in the turn just before the overpass he had swung on the inside while I was on the outside.

Now the more interesting 35+ 1/2/3 is a bit closer, as this win gets me 8/20 upgrade points. Next up: UCSC road race!

Full results at:

Cantua Creek RR - just after collecting the prestigious winner's pink T-shirt 
Trying to scare off competitors and photographers alike

Leading the bunch up the "climb" the first time around

Cruising up in front of the bunch

1 comment:

  1. You make it look too easy Stefano... congratulations to you both on a great race!



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