By: Colin Patterson
For many racers, Cantua Creek Road Race is simply their season opener but for me it is much more. This was my first P1/2 win last year so the hype and pressure was on to pull a repeat.
Located only 30 minutes away from downtown Kettleman City and across the freeway from Harris Ranch, the hills behind Coalinga and the course were looking particularly green that early Saturday morning. Perhaps it was due to the intermittent rain that had been following us since we left San Luis Obispo and continued to circle around us once we arrived.
We arrive, use the left most porta-potty (I’ve learned that this one always brings you the best luck in races), check in to reg, grab my 8.5×11 bib number, and rush back to the car to hold onto whatever warmth I have left. Not long after I see this clown walk over to our car wearing shorts, who else could it be but Blake Anton. While we’ve raced against each other and with each other before, this was our first time racing together in the US.
All suited up we rolled our way to the start, hoping for a fast, hard start to warm ourselves up. The course itself is pretty simple, a relatively flat out and back with a 2-3k climb at the start/finish turn around point. New to the course this year was all the mud on the road that made sitting behind another rider taste a little worse than usual and splattered our new Cervelos which I had literally just cleaned 12 hours prior. However, there were significantly less bees flying around than I remembered so that was definitely a plus.
Several hours later my break of five chugged up the climb for the last time, and I managed to gap the other riders in the last 200 meters to set myself up for the hat trick next year. More importantly though, I was stoked with how I rode, how Blake rode, and how our break was able to instantly get in the grove and start jamming out a rotation.
As tradition, a handful of us from the Central Coast went to the local Kettleman Denny’s to smother ourselves in breakfast food. With a choconana pancake breakfast with a bacon upgrade, it was hard to imagine a better way to end the day even though it was noon.
Now with La Vuelta Independencia in the Dominican Republic just around the corner, I could not be more excited for how this season is shaping up.