After a solid all around performance by the team on Saturday at Wente, the team was hoping to keep our form rolling at the Downtown Auburn Crit on Sunday. Kris Lunning (Lunner), Dustin Hahn, Nate Freed and I took one look at the main climb and descent on the historic downtown course and knew this race was going to be both fun and painful. In the pre race tactics chat we decided that racing aggressively early in the race would give us the best chance to put multiple guys on the podium because of the technical course profile.
About 7-8 minutes into the race we upped the paced and started throwing out attacks which weren’t really sticking but were definitely taking their toll on the peloton. Around 15 minutes in, Lunner decided he was going to make his mark on the race and threw down a savage effort which gave him about a 15-20 second gap within a lap while the rest of us got to sit in and watch the peloton chase. After Lunner was off the front for about two laps I figured he would start to get reeled in or better yet someone would be able to bridge and give him some help. But not today, Lunner was riding like an absolute beast and the peloton wasn’t even cutting into his now 25 second gap. In fact, the peloton was starting to spit guys out the back just attempting to catch him. This craziness lasted for at least the next 30 minutes when finally the gap started to shrink. I figured that the best way to capitalize on all Lunner’s work was to immediately counter attack once he was brought back. What I didn’t expect was that Lunner would still have enough juice to stay with the next move but somehow he did and before I knew it Lunner and I were off the front for good with Jesse Moore and Max Jenkins.
Once the 4 of us started working the lead grew and I immediately started thinking about the finish and how I could keep the race from ending up in a sprint because I figured Lunner was worked and I knew my sprint sucked. Fortunately I was wrong and before I knew it, Lunner attacked the break and was up the road with the winning move. It was pretty cool watching my teammate get to solo in for the win knowing all his hard work both during the race and throughout the season was paying off. The rest of the race played out pretty much as expected as the strong and crafty old veteran Jesse Moore took me at the line in the sprint for second. Nate and Dustin both finished in the top 15 to round out another great day for the team.