Wow… What a weekend…
Sea Otter stepped it up a level this year by turning 3 separate races into a 4-race long Pro 1/2 Omnium. After my success last year as a Cat 3 at this race, I couldn’t wait to test my legs against the pros. After struggling through the first stage (Crit), I found my legs on the Road Race and Time Trial with respectable placings of 17th in each. The final stage of the weekend was my favorite, and one I have been thinking about for some time now. The Sea Otter Circuit is set up on the Laguna Seca race track including a 250′ climb each lap followed by the world famous corkscrew descent, pefect pavement, banked turns and of course some wind. After stuffing my gullet with pizza, pasta, cookies, ice cream and beer at the meet and greet social event with our sponsor’s Marc Pro and Strava, I retired to my bedroom for some quality time with my Marc Pro recovery device in preperation for the next days shellacking.
The race began with the typical attacking and counter attacking. The team goal for the day was to be on the look out for a break with all the pro teams represented. After only a few laps in, I saw my oppurtunity…Kris Lunning, fellow barbarian teammate, had just thrown in an attack that was being countered by Paul Mach (Bissell) and a representative of Team Exergy (Kai Applequist) and Team Realcyclist.com (Cesar Grajales)…I joined them. We ripped over the climb and were soon joined by 7 others (Nate English of Yahoo, Matt Cooke of Exergy, Thomas Rabou of Realcyclist, Andy Jacques-Maynes, Jeremey Vennell, Chase Pinkham of Bissell, Raul Concado of Passion Bikes and Kirk Carlsen of Chipotle Development Team). A break that was well represented and I was in it, sweet!
I made sure to take some strong pulls because I wanted to earn my spot in the break and some respect from the big pro riders. After a sizable gap opened, the pros began playing games and sitting up because some teams were just sitting in…Nate English and I wanted to avoid the group from getting caught so we did work. It was a day that my legs felt invincible and I wanted to punish them. It is similar to the body releasing the hormone ghrelin when your eating junk food…causing you to want to eat more…or a labrador retreiver eating themselves to death…we just can’t help ourselves.
For many laps there was a chase group that was within 30 seconds at one point, luckily we had Jesse Miller-Smith representing in it. That chase group was eventually absorbed back into the pack and our break was not going to be caught. The attacks started to happen with about 6 laps to go. The were furious and frequent. Matt Cooke and the lighter climbers were shatterring the group over every climb and Nate English was relentless. I went with every move, giving it everything I had. At one point I could feel my carotid artery beating in my neck and my eyeballs were ready to explode. My legs…I can’t even describe the pain…I’m in need of Lunner’s creative writing skills. Finally a move stuck with 6 of the 11 in the break. Unfortunately I was not able to join. I was waiting for one more guy to cross and it never happened. With 2 laps to go Paul Mach yelled at me, “Quit sitting on the front and riding slow, you don’t have a guy up the road, what are you blocking?…If you want to do something sit in and attack…I shouldn’t be telling you that.” Thanks Paul, I’m new at this. I sat in and attacked over the top of the climb. I got a big gap and held on with everything I had. I crossed the line in 7th place with about a 6 second gap on my group. A fist pump and some screaming from the Marc Pro – Strava wife/girlfriend cheering squad, which provided timely feeds and serious motivation, I was very pleased with the days work.