Quick report because I am supposed to be working on a project for my Anthro class right now……
I love Santa Cruz! What a great town to have a crit. The only lame part of that race was finding parking, and that was also probably the hardest part of the event in its entirety.
The trippiest part of this race was that with the exception of a couple of teams, like McGuire, nobody had more than two guys. This made it interesting. I only had one team mate, Art Rand, and was expecting to have more – but came to the realization at the line that Art would have to do. He can climb and this course had a hill.
I had watched a couple of the earlier races and noticed that early on in each riders were getting gapped out, so I made a mental note to try and get a good warm up. That never happened though because I found myself talking to everyone and their mother and kept getting sidetracked. At one point, AJ Kennedy said, “we got like an hour”, I looked at my clock and we really only had about twenty five minutes – told him and we hustled to the start. I would have to attack from the gun to get a warm up.
The most interesting thing to happen before the race was to hear the promoter, Bob Leibold, tell someone he has been putting this race on for something like sixty-five years and only didn’t do it a couple times because HE WAS RACING! No way! I had to ask him about his racing experience. He told me he was an exceptional climber at one point. I looked him up and down and thought to myself, ‘I can see that’. Just kidding.
The course starts on top of a hill, descends slightly into a hair pin, descends even more, does a left-right-right and into an alley with speed bumps, rises slightly through a tight turn and launches you onto the wide open start finish hill. Really fun, but probably it sucks if you’re not fit.
Out of the gate there was an attack and it was pretty fast. It got a good gap. I get towed across by Martin Acosta from McGuire. He immediately goes to the front of the break and starts drilling it. Before I know it more a couple more guys bridge across on the hill to include Logan Loader from Exergy. Cool, we got a good group and this should stay away!
The one problem with this group, it did not contain James Mattis, who was the lone rider from Cal Giant , but by himself he made them the strongest team of the day! I am guessing with little effort, he brought us back. Damn him!
As soon as we were caught, Martin from McGuire went again! This time he took three other riders with him. Their gap went from 10 seconds, to 15, to 20, to 20+! His break went early on, and would last pretty much the whole race despite efforts by Logan, James, Pat Briggs, Chris Phipps, Art and myself to bring it back. James was pulling so hard that at times when he let up, the field, much to his frustration, bunched up and tried to recover. Luckily Martin, who I think was probably driving the break, got stuck in his small chain ring. That and the fact that another rider from the break started attacking it insured its demise. We caught them with two laps to go.
The pace stayed pretty fast for those last two laps. With one to go a rider was off the front and Rob from McGuire pulled it back in. I ended up on Logan’s wheel, and after coming around the last turn I think he dropped his chain while I was standing and accelerating forward. Bad things almost happened and I was abruptly slowed. Great, I was stuck in a huge gear on an uphill sprint while the field was single file passing me on my left. Slowly I started gaining momentum and was picking guys off one by one until I crossed the line in second.