Saturday, May 31, 2014

Two Weekends of Racing By Matthew Sloan

Sunday, May 25th, Mt. Hamilton Classic

In my opinion, this is a brutal race! The biggest lesson I learned is: make sure you are warm for the start! I started like I was ready for our first interval on a Wednesday, the Elite 3 young bucks went off like it was our 3rd. My legs just weren't ready. I got dropped early on and only warmed up after 20 mins. I caught quite a few riders on the way to Livermore. But the long climb to begin just wasn't suited to a bigger rider like myself.

I worked with Eddie's friend from the UCSC team - Reggie, until he tired, leaving me to time trial most of the way on my own. Definitely a day to put down to experience. Would I do it again? Mmm...

Monday, May 26th, Memorial Day Criterium, Morgan Hill

This was a fun day of crit racing. I did the 35+ 3/4s at 10:45. It was a pretty inconsistent pace. Lots of slowing into the wind. There were a couple of attempts at breakaways but nothing stuck. I was pretty well placed going into the second to last turn but got boxed in going toward the final turn. Unfortunately, I rider clipped his pedal and went down. Another rider took the corner too fast on the dusty inner part and went down, also. The crashes pushed cyclists to the outside curb and more cyclists went down. It was really dicey for a moment or two. I sat up and cruised in safely and still managed a decent eighth place.

Saturday, May 31st, Dash for Cash, Pleasanton

I drove up with my friend David Allen of Mike's Bikes. It was a very easy race to get to, straight off 580. A basic four corner business park crit with nice wide roads and one small chicane. I started the day with the 35+ 1/2/3s. I wanted to do well in the race and hang in there with the "big boys!" With $10 primes on every lap it was a fast race with plenty of attacks. With five Mike's Bikes riders in the race they were the ones to watch.

David attacked early trying to bridge up to a rider who had gone solo for a couple of laps building up his prime dollars. I jumped straight on his wheel. We worked together to try and bridge up to the solo breakaway rider. Just before we made it, a couple from the pack bridged to us. I was hoping we would become a five man breakaway but unfortunately the pack was close behind and swallowed us up.

I hung back for a few laps, sitting in and recovering for another go at it. With about four to go, I began moving up. A Mike's Bike rider went to the front bridging up to a solo prime rider who was working hard to get away. I came through the final bend hard and won a prime lap. I turned to see I was way off the front. I sat down and gave it all I had to try and stay away. Coming again into the second to last lap, I was caught by the field. I held on in the peloton and came in with the main bunch but off the sprint. Still, a great race.

At 3:35 p.m. I took part in the 35+3/4s. Due to the prime laps it was quite a good pace with riders going off the front to win their $10 primes. I was sitting back thinking about resting to hopefully win the race. About four laps in, I got a bit impatient with the erratic pace and took off in the straight before the final corner. I was quite a way out in front. One rider, James Yuan, came hot on my tail and snuck the prime. But there we were, way ahead of the peloton. We spoke to each other and took it on. For eight laps we were out in front taking turns on pulls and primes. James started to tire a bit so I pulled a little more. With 3 laps to go, unfortunately, we were caught. I sat in as best I could trying to muster up some energy for a sprint.

It was a bit of a jumble going into the last turn because the pace hadn't been fast enough leading into it. I was pretty well placed. I got out of the saddle and went for it. Unfortunately, my legs were aching so I had to sit back down. I sprinted seated for ten to twenty meters or so, got back out of the saddle, and came in a decent sixth.

My winnings for the day: $50 (cash) $15 gift certificate, water bottle, hammer nutrition, and best and most rewarding of all - a Cycles Gladiator cap with the flying woman with long golden hair with bike image on it - for most aggressive rider in  the 3/4s. Now that prize is something I will treasure, at least my wife will, I think she already has her eye on it.

Tomorrow, the RedKite Bump race in Livermore - "Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more!!!"

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