If you don’t count San Bruno Hill Climb, CCCX 1 and 2, the BP Folsom Crit, the Cal Aggie crit, five early bird crits, the early bird road race, or the knights ferry road race, Cherry Pie is the first race of the year in Northern California…
Whoa! Wait! WTF Chuck, I thought you were not on the team!
Chill out bro, its cool. I am on the team. Its all good. I forgive them, and the makeup *hug was awesome.
Actually, the race report for Cherry Pie goes back, way back. Before the officials said go. Before Alan Jackson demanded I show him prof of age to avoid junior roll out. Shoot, several days before – at the Marc Pro-Strava training camp, 2013.
17 guys, one beautiful house in Sonoma California, and 17 bikes to roll through the hills and mountains and past the wineries. Sexy.
17 guys, 2 toilets in close proximity to the sleeping quarters and a lot of Mexican and pasta eaten. Not so sexy.
Like a good teammate, I got there first to secure one of the best sleeping locations. Nate Freed and Justin Rossi arrived right after me. A guy, who may or may not be the director of the team sent one of us a text stating “Get me a bed, I did not have room in my car for a sleeping bag.” He should have just put it where Mitt Romney puts his dog on family vacations.
Luckily I got a room with a bed – which was big enough to share. I actually don’t mind sharing because I am naturally ‘big spoon.’ When Teeter showed up next I thought he would be an awesome roommate because he is hella quite and I had a ton of homework. After I told him about the room I immediately regretted my decision as the smell of petula oil emitting from Teeter gagged me and left me temporarily incapacitated. He said he was wearing “ode to a thousand unbathed hippies.” It was cool though, each night I countered him with my gas and we slept with the door to the outside open despite in being below 30 degrees out there.
Camp is awesome. You get to meet the new guys, remissness about the guys who left, get made fun of for leaving then coming back. I wanted to haze the new guys, but Nate informed me that technically I was the newest guy, so I let that one go. Our new line up is pretty sick. We got Dirty Joe Dickerson, Pretty Boy Chris Harland-Dunaway (H-D), Taylor Bertrand-Barret (B-B), Matt McKinze, and “Is this what my life has become” Paul Mach. Unfortunately Kris Lunning left, I loved his jokes – he’d have you rolling, then 10 minutes later you realize he was making fun of you. Wit like that is a talent.
Our training camp began with a 24 mile 3000 feet of climbing and ended with a ride of 110 mile 9000+ feet of climbing. Climbing is not something heavy guys like me do well, so I was pretty much getting my teeth kicked in on every ride. I am pretty sure we went through some nice scenic terrain, but all I saw was the back wheels of various teammates. I was glad when it was over, but at the same time missed the camaraderie of the frat house/cycling experience.
The last day was hell for me. I think at mile 100 I cracked, ran out of energy and then bonked on a climb called Oakville Grade. It was hell. Once I hit the wall I started doubting how well I would do at Cherry Pie the next day.
Rolling up to Cherry Pie I am sure we had the same plans as every team. Breaks work here and field sprints happen too, so have some one fresh and make sure guys cover the breaks. According to USA Cycling, there was 99 riders. Guys who could tear your legs off like Nate English and Kirk Carlson, and guys who will destroy you in a spring like Logan Loader, Fred Rodriguez and Dan Holloway. Pretty intimidating if you combine the stacked field, Switters and Hollaway with their elite/pro crit national championship strips on their jerseys, that kicker hill that wears on you and the fact that my whole team did a crazy hard ride the day before!
Honestly, my legs were to dead to even really warm up. The rest of the guys did 40 miles, I just sat in my car and studied. I could feel my heart beat in my quads.
At the start line I talked with Dana Williams from Mikes bikes. Really nice guy. In fact, I just read his blog post about this same race. Funny thing is, he called “Mike Sayers”, “Chad Sayers.” Maybe getting him confused with Chad Gerlach? I am sure Mike thinks it is as funny as I do and appreciates the compliment. Dana was doubling up after getting 3rd in the masters race before.
As soon as the race started it was painfully fast and I could feel every pedal stroke in my legs, especially when I stood up. Other guys on the team were riding strong and covering everything. I was glad they were going well! I remember watching threatening moves go away from the group, and then Rossi, Freed, H-D and Jesse were riding up to them with ease. It is nice to have strong teammates.
About 20 minutes into the race I really started to fell the day before. I ate a Cliff Bar and decided to go for a prime hoping that would open my legs up some. Holloway smoked me for it and I dropped back a ton of spots trying to recover. A few minutes later I went for another prime and Switters almost snagged that from me. It was so close I didn’t know I got it till after the race. Right after that prime Teeter, Nate English, Fred Rodriguez, Eric Losak from Cliff Bar and British rider Simon Holt (formerly from Rapha-Condor) went clear. Holloway and Loagan Loader went across right after with a few others. Then Switters and Eric Riggs went. It looked like Teeter was going to have his hands full and I decided to try and get across. I caught Switters and Riggs halfway and they towed me the rest of the way to the break.
Jack Maddux, a junior, was up there too. Luckily for Team Specialized he was there making them look good. Very solid, covering attacks and riding like being in a break with this much fire power was his normal routine. I believe he won the junior race earlier too. Pretty damn impressive.
This may have been the most unorganized break I have ever been in that succeeded.
The speed stayed crazy fast because of all of the attacks that were coming out of it. I could barely pull through, but luckily having Teeter there was like having a full team, 2 pit bulls, and a lasso. He was not letting anything get away!
With 3 laps to go, (maybe not in this order) Simon attacked – Teeter pulled him back, Nate English attacked – Teeter pulled him back, it was amazing! With one lap to go, Switters and Freddy went clear and it looked like they would be gone, but Teeter dug deep and pulled them back!
I had planned to start the spring going through the chicane, but when I stood, my legs said otherwise… the POW! Logan flew by all of us from the back like he got shot out of a cannon. Holloway was the first to respond. I tried as hard as I could to close in on Holloway, but when I realized it was futile I began trying to hold off Freddy for 3rd. He ended 4th, and Simon got 5th.
Switters rolled across for an impressive 6th AND got the most aggressive rider. After all that Teeter did, I felt bad I could only manage 3rd, but it was the best I could do and it was an exciting fun race to start the year off with.
2012 Cherry Pie Podium