Monday, June 30, 2014

CCCX 35+ 1/2/3s, Saturday, June 28th by Matthew Sloan

This was my best race by far on the CCCX circuit course. Not for the result but for the racing itself. I drove down with David Allen and his teammate and old friend, John Funke. John Funke, a former elite cyclocross racer (he nearly won nationals one year but was beaten by the flu!), advised me to race aggressively, so, I did!

I got into the first break with Kyle Glerum from Safeway but we were soon eaten up by the Peloton.  Nick Theobold from Safeway attacked when the Peloton bridged up. This was the winning break. I felt it would be. I attacked to bridge up but just didn't quite have it after my previous efforts. Stefano tried to bridge up too; however, even working together we didn't make it. I consciously dropped off the pace allowing myself to get caught by the second group. There were seven off the front in the break. When they started to get into a pace line, we just couldn't match their combined effort.

At first, some of the riders in the peloton worked to bring the break back. After a while, however, the group resigned itself to racing for what would become 6th place. On the second to last lap, with nobody wanting to pull up the rollers into the wind, a voice in my head cried out: "I paid $40 for this!" From the back of the peloton, I put my foot down on one of downhills, I used my momentum to sprint up the uphill. I went scorching down the main downhill to get clear of the peloton. At the very least, I wanted someone to have to make the effort to catch me. I was hoping David Allen or John Funke would bridge up and help bring back the break. Someone made an effort to bridge up to me but the peloton came with them. It was fun to be solo for just over half a lap. I eased up on the long hill and fell in behind the main group. My thought was, "let's rest up and practice my sprint." Even with the race finishing after the rollers, it is still a power finish.

With a half a lap remaining you would have thought we were out on a Sunday coffee ride. At that moment Michael Holt attacked hard. Apparently, he doesn't have a great sprint. Everyone perked up and rose to the occasion. Stefano went to the front on the rollers but didn't get away. It turned into a pack sprint. I chose a bad line on the right, I had to slow up as a rider drifted into my line. I only managed 5th in our group - 10th overall. If I had stayed on David Allen's wheel I would have got 2nd in our group. Never mind, better luck next time. Even though my finish didn't go perfectly, I have to say I really like where the race finishes now. It feels a lot safer!

I will be racing RedKite criterium this coming Sunday. I raced Burlingame last Sunday, 22nd but it didn't go well for me with the hairpin turn. Too much stopping and starting. Next Sunday I would love to podium! We'll see.

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