Giro SF is a very cool race near the Embarcadero in San Francisco that usually rallies a substantial field around 100 riders. A handful of guys come from SoCal which is nice, because we get some new faces in the bunch.
We had a good group of guys at the line: The Jenkinator, The Buccaneer (Rossi), Ariel Herrmann (Ariel Herrmann), Matt Chat, Nick “The Shaft” Schaffner, Teeter, Nate Freedom, and I. The object was attack, attack, attack, attack. We wanted to put Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator on the ropes and limit the chances of a field sprint. Obviously they wanted to win in downtown San Francisco with James Laberge rocking the U-23 National Crit jersey.
We hung back for the first 15-20 minutes so everyone could get all of their pent up wattage out. Then we went to work with a chain of attacks and counterattacks, over and over and over like a yellow Mavic-clad swarm of wasps.
Teeter got a gap, then Ariel went ballistic for a while, then I attacked a couple times, then the Jenkinator attacked a couple times and it looked like guys were fatiguing and chasing a bit more desperately, a bit less willingly. Jenkinator came back and we dropped the Rossi bomb.
“The Buccaneer” raged for a couple of laps alone, gaining time every lap until we couldn’t really see him on the long back straight. He created the winning breakaway at Winters, solo’d to one of the most spectacular road race victories at Challenge I’ve ever seen him produce only 2 days earlier. When he’s not crushing local races, he’s sailing into the midst of the professional Spanish galleons of the National Racing Circuit and doling out grapeshot and broadsides in the time trial and most recently, a 5th on the Awbrey Buttes Circuit Race at Cascade.
So this was perfect, Mike’s decided to play the long game and put all of their riders on the front to chase down the Buccaneer. Some sprinters started getting un-classy behind them, elbowing and shoving like this was the leadout…. Uh, there are 16 laps to go meatheads. Whatever, sprinters will be sprinters, but I was definitely shaking my head when one guy shoved his way into the Mike’s chase, messing up their rotation, for no clear reason. If an entire team is chasing, let them chase, don’t be an asshat.
There came a point where I wondered if Mike’s would be able to weather this onslaught and bring Rossi back. Menso De Jong (Clif Bar) attacked the chase, Roman Kilun and Rob Evans went with him – the Mike’s train pulled into the station, seeming to let this race be decided by a break with their captain in it.
Randos drilled it and we massed around Matt Chat to wait for the field sprint – Max was going to attack over the last hill to put Matt in the front for the sprint. A lap to go, Bear Dev was pulling extremely hard through the start/finish area. Guys! Your teammate Rob is up the road and is potentially the best sprinter in the final break. The break was right there in front of us now, I was bummed that it looked like we’d catch Rossi after his amazing ride. Then Matt Chat crashed hard and I was even more bummed. I guess we’re all sprinting now, lads.
Rossi was our top finisher in 10th – Garrett Hankins won in a photo finish with James Laberge. If we couldn’t win, I was happy Hankins did, he’s an up and comer and pedals to the front, is smart, and doesn’t just head butt his way up there.
I rolled over to the Metromint tent to get some spearmint water, thanks Metromint for sponsoring this great crit every year. With some more event development and promotion, this crit could be massive. I believe that in NorCal we already have a large number of fun and great courses. I think the next step is to connect with the communities in which we race, bring the people out, create sponsor opportunities for local commerce, add more food and drinks to the mix, and generally make these races a grand day out for anybody to enjoy.