A smooth, slow rollout with Jamie. Some chatter through the rollers on Stage and then the right onto 84. After a few slowed for some personal relief, there were a few that made their way off the front including fellow Morning Rider, Steve Cassani. After the initial descent off the steeper turns of Haskins, there were still 6 away now with a 90 second gap.
Approaching the Loma Mar sign I made a hard surge off the front as the group had slowed and regrouped after being strung out for the descent. I brought along 3 (notably Chris Daluisio who won the race) including 2 from teams represented in the break. Unfortunately, they weren’t willing to work to help bridge. Dead weight and a tough decision but I was committed so I kept my head down and Murray Swanson joined in to help. 15-20min of hard work and we had :45 on the field so I lobbied for some help and the two others started working. Along stage we were getting times but the gap wasn’t coming down. A bit disappointing. On the second Stage climb, we could see them. I really wanted to bridge by the time we hit 84 so I surged hard, the 3 all responded. The was a good move as the gap came down immediately and we made it across just after the turn onto 84.
After the two groups merged, there was some initial slowly as we all gave a quick reassessment of the situation, then it was back to business. Most of the group worked well together with a few notables who just sat at the back. For the next lap it was rather uneventful with a steady effort.
Coming up 84 for the last time guys were feeling the long effort. Our group that had been 11, had eroded down to 7 including a few hanging on the back for dear life. With about 10 minutes to go on 84, there was little coordination and some concern that the chase group of 8 had erased a 3 minute gap and was now 55 seconds to us. I knew Phipps, Metcalfe and Jamie would be in that group so I launched a solo bid hoping for a MorganStanley or Specialized guy to come with me. Nothing. So I kept my head down and found a good rhythm and by the turn onto Pescadero I had a :30 gap. I kept it pegged and legs were ok but that little pitch by the feed just sucked the life out of me.
When I turned right to head up the final climb my legs abruptly seized. As I lifted myself out of the saddle, my legs forced me back to a seated climb. I struggled to find a good gear. 1/3 of the way up and Chris Daluisio came by and went on to win, shortly after Metcalfe and Phipps came chasing. I was seeing double as ever so slowing more guys caught and passed me. I was giving it everything but it just wasn’t to be. I started the climb 1st and 7 minutes later I finished the race in 10th. Almost worked.
It was a solid effort and great day overall. I was in a good position, made a good move and I went for the win….it just didn’t pan out this time. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Really fun racing with Jamie and a bummer he had some issues. I know he would have smoked the climb had he been in the group and we would have had two in the top 10.
Glenn and I raced 35+ 1-2-3 today at Pescadero. Here’s a quick report — Glenn should write in with his own color as he had a great ride.
This is a great 75 mile road race — I’m sad it now overlaps with Tour de Nez. We do just under 3 laps on a 28 mile circuit (about 5000ft of climbing) finish at the top of a gradual 800ft+/- climb that is just long enough to hurt a lot. Specialized, Morgan Stanley, and CA Giant Berry Farms fairly well represented.
For me today was a great example of how a seemingly minor setback and moment of complacency can define the whole day. The first lap was slow — most of us still shivering after the first 30 mins of racing. Glenn initiated a well-timed break near the end of the first lap — good situation for CWC as all the heavyweights were in the main field with team-mates in the break. I sat in and enjoyed the scenery, and kept eyes on the guys I was marking. All good!
But when we hit the climb a second time, my shifting suddenly went out of adjustment — as if my derailleur cable had been shortened. There was beginning to be a selection of about 10 guys and all of a sudden I found myself unable to put any power down without gears popping. WTF is going on? (Later found out that my shift/brake levers moved down about 2mm, but the shift cable stayed put. It is worth making absolutely sure your SRAM levers are snug!) Based on the first lap, I was 100% confident I could stop, adjust my derailleur, and chase back on. I calmly stopped, screwed the barrel in to get my shifting working, and got going again about 20 secs behind the selection that was forming.
I got back to about 5 secs back by the base of the descent, then unfortunately for me the group pegged it on the slight, straight downhill. Uh oh, now or never for me. The utter agony of being just out of the draft, giving 100% effort, and watching some guy on the back softpedal is unique to cycling! I kept waiting for some break in the pace, none. Kept going 100% until a catastrophic engine room failure occurred for me when we hit the a small 500ft climb. Time trial home, right hamstring cramping.
I learned that this selection ultimately caught the break. Glenn attacked everyone with roughly 10k to go and got about 30 seconds by the base of the final climb. Another well timed move, this time solo, but got caught by the Specialized and Morgan Stanley teams. He managed to hold on for 9th+/-. I rode in physically shattered several minutes later somewhere in the 20s.