I showed up to Patterson Pass Road Race eager to repeat my win in 2013. I was definitely “floating” that day last year so I didn’t expect to feel as good physically, but I was really hungry, and thats what matters.
I rolled up to the starting line with a big sack of bottles for Ariel and I. We didn’t have a feeder as of yet, so I figured I would drop them off in the feedzone 2 miles up the climb. Luckily an official thought was stupid and convinced a driver to take them up the hill for me. Benny Swedberg (Cal Giant) and I sang a quick refrain of “Let it go”, and we were off. Attacks went immediately but were brought back and I was thinking we would have a medium-paced climb up Patterson Pass. Airgas had different ideas and they drilled it, lining out the peloton single file. Just before the first steep section Matt Rodrigues (DBC) attacked and Griffin Easter (Airgas) attacked too. I decided to follow Griffin and make it a 3 man break. They were going insanely hard, super deep, right away at the beginning. I tried following for a bit and ultimately decided that the move was suicide. I let up and waited for the peloton until Flynn, hoping may a couple guys would leapfrog across to me and then we could ride up to the front two guys and actually have a reasonable chance.
I was reabsorbed and hung out in the group waiting for the next time up Patterson. The second time was even harder than the first, but when we hit the headwind near the top of the climb, things slowed down just enough that I could recover – Justin Mauch (Airgas) was dangling in front of us, so I punched it over the top alone to join him. We rode hard and couldn’t see the duo that was still off the front. We hit the feedzone for the start of the 3rd lap and Griffin Easter was coming back to us, the gap to the front was 2 minutes… Woah, I guess we better try riding harder.
So on all of the flats and descents Justin and I rode pretty hard, Griffin didn’t hang. Time was drifting by and still no sight of Rodrigues… “Where is he???” Justin asked incredulously.
We passed the feedzone going into the last lap.
“What’s the gap?!”
So I accepted that I was racing for 2nd place at this point, because Matt Rodrigues was riding like friggin Fausto Coppi or something. I decided I would wait until the climb up Flynn to try and go solo for the podium, and attacked Justin. I think Justin was pretty tired from our long hard chase and couldn’t respond, I started time trialing and really poured it on during the descent to final roller.
A moto drove up:
“The gap is 7 minutes.”
I don’t even know what road the final roller is on, but it sucks. There is a solid crosswind, its hard enough to be more than annoying, and I nearly cramped in the same spot the year before when Brandon Trafton was chasing me.
This year I looked back and saw a diminished group of 4 or 5 gaining some ground and punched it out of the saddle for the crest. Cramp. I tried pedaling with it and it really hurt, I was swearing my head off trying to turn the pedals. I started pedaling with just my right leg and my left leg unclipped. It was inevitable, I was going to be caught and passed. I was even cramping trying to clip my left leg back in. So at the crest, I just got off my bike.
A big congratulations to Matt Rodrigues for meting out a beating commensurate to both of Ben Jacques-Maynes victories this year.