Central Coast Road Series II: 35+ 1/2/3s
Following the Stars and Stripes
6 laps, 24 miles
This was a very competitive field including 2 national champions: road race champion, Scott Giles and crit champion, Matthew Corinio. Matthew's team Arts Cyclery was very strong. My friend and fellow racer, David Allen, said this was the fastest Master's race he has been in at Ford Ord.
It started out fast, the middle was fast, and so was the end: fast, fast, fast! The hardest part of the course is the first hill, a long gradual ascent with a false flat on the top. On every lap we were treated to an attack, usually hard, from the bottom to the top. All I can say is I hung on the wheels of a lot of stars and stripes on the climb! I knew if I could hold either of the stars and stripes' wheels, I would be there at the end.
Ben Albracht of Arts Cyclery and Jacob of Thirsty Bear formed an initial break. With both riders having teammates they were able to get quite a good gap on the field. Scott Giles and others tried to bridge up but Arts covered their attempts. This didn't stop Scott Giles from continuing throughout the race to close it down. On one attempt, I got on his wheel and exchanged a few pulls but we were brought back into the fold by Arts.
Finally, just before the last lap the break was caught. Arts attacked up the long gradual climb. I worked really hard to hold their wheels. Just before we got to the top, Matthew Corinio attacked smoothly and hard. I tried to get on but he was gone! He ended up winning. It was perfect team work. He had sat in while his team did all the work. Then, when it really mattered, "BANG!", he was gone.
The main group continued to ride hard to catch up.
Due to his many efforts during the race and the fact he may feel he doesn't have a sprint, Scott Giles dropped off the back over the rollers and let us go. Even with legs burning from the efforts of the fast, hard hills I found myself in sixth or seventh down the final descent. I was edging up the left ready for the sprint. Unfortunately, we were catching the tail end of another race. They were fanning out to take their final turn. We yelled out but their positioning forced us into more of a line and pushed me back out of position. I still got a good sprint going and was able to edge out a Simple Green team rider for 5th.
My first top 5 in a 35+ field and a competitive one at that. They even had a podium for 5 places. I have to admit that I tracked down the 4th place rider so I could get my podium picture taken. Unfortunately, it was taken by someone from Arts Cyclery. I will share it when they send it to me. I really appreciated the support of Rene and Matt during the race. It really helps to hear your name being called out by teammates.
I am feeling ready for Sea Otter on Thursday-crit, and Friday-circuit race. A couple of easy days then some sprints on Wednesday and I should be there.