It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon with a good breeze swirling around the tall buildings in Downtown Oakland. As soon as I got out of the car I overheard a masters racer talking about his race and how it was a great day for a breakaway. This was confirmed by the women’s race in which Ali Starnes rode away solo and the field blew apart. This was exciting. The previous night I had double helpings of dessert and I was ready to pedal hard.
Marc Pro – STRAVA was only three strong but we were ready to ride like 10 men. Chuck started out the team huddle by explaining that he was out of shape and so he was going to attack from the gun. Nate and myself just looked at one another and chuckled. Our role would be to look for a move later in the race.
The attention at the start line was mostly on the retiring Rand Miller(California Giant/Specialized). I think most were assuming that he would go out with a bang and make the race aggressive. He did not disappoint. Within the first few laps Rand and Chuck were off the front and setting a mean pace. They dropped several of their break mates early on and before long it was just the two of them. Nate and I were doing our best to patrol the front, looking for bridge opportunities and shutting down dangerous looking moves.
About halfway through the 34 mile race Mikes Bikes decided they had had enough and sent their entire team to the front. It was Mikes (8-9 strong) vs. Chuck and Rand. The gap was just barely coming down and for a while it hoovered around 10 seconds. I was pretty blown away. “Out of shape” my chamois.
Once we could see the two escapees, however, their chances started to look worse. With about 7 to go Nate and I got in a counter move right as Chuck and Rand were caught. This group didn’t have much of a gap and we were soon being brought back so I attacked. Eric Riggs (Mikes Bikes), Dirk Himley (Echelon/Charity of Choice) and a McGuire rider bridged up with 3 to go. With 1 to go I attacked on the finishing climb but failed get a gap. Riggs countered on the backstretch and I was in a poor position to get his wheel. He held on for a well deserved win with myself second and Dirk third.
Chuck finished in 8th with several primes and Nate was 13th. All things considered a strong showing for Marc Pro – STRAVA and a joyful end to the season.