This was my first time racing University. There was much joking around before the race about getting dropped and repeating 20 x 5min hill climbs at 400+ watts. The course was 3 mile loops on the UC Santa Cruz campus with a 340’ climb each lap. Dustin, Nate and I arrived with plenty of time to get ready and wait in the all so important porta potty line. It was a frigid 50 degrees with fog when the race started. Although I hate being cold, I perform much better than in hot conditions. As we rolled off the start line I looked around to size up the competition and yes, once again, I am pretty sure I am the biggest dude in the field. Luckily the Jessie Miller-Smith’s of the world are “just riding around” up at the Tour of Utah, and my chances of staying in the lead group improved. The race started out pretty easy for the first 5 laps or so, but quickly began to speed up. Today, for the first time in months, I felt extremely strong and confident I could match accelerations. As for 20 laps… I wasn’t so sure. By lap 10 the race really began to heat up and competition was dropping off the back. In the final 10 hill climbs, 9 were well over 400 watts. Today I had an unlimited supply of oxygen thanks to racing at sea level. By lap 13 it was down to approx 15 guys. Gaps were constantly opening on the climb, only to come back together on the decent. I was managing to hang in the lead group of 6-8 guys over the top on every lap. There were many attacks, but nothing stuck until the final laps. With 2 laps to go a yahoo guy and cycling legend Ned Overend attacked. I was playing conservative and figured they would be brought back, not the case. On the final climb everyone was worked including myself. Metromint attacked and got sizable gap when I finally decided to man up and sprint for home. I was gaining on the Metromint guy, but ran out of room. 3rd-5th place was decided by tenths of seconds, and I ended up 5th. I was a little disappointed I didn’t go with yahoo’s attack earlier, but elated I finally put together a good performance in a P12 field. 55 miles, 7000′ of climbing, $15 and a t-shirt prize, another delicious burrito, and a long ride home. With my weekend complete, I have a renewed fire that will carry me through the end of this season and into the winter training months ahead.
My athletic career began at 3 years old in a swim pool. My parents couldn't keep me out of the water and figured they would let me start early. Swimming began to get serious (year around) at 9 years old. The pool took me to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, were I studied how to not treat your body as a top level athlete...and some Business Management. After college, I was burnt out on Swimming and found a new home in the gym for the next 6+ years. I never planned on competing but made it to 220 lbs at my peak!! A buddy of mine convinced me to get a road bike to work on some cardio and accompany him on some casual rides. After a few summers of riding, I became addicted to it and started to put more and more miles in. I finally got the nerve to do some local races in 2009 and began real racing as a certified Cat 5 in 2010. I spent the fall/winter season losing weight and training hard and enjoyed a quick rise to a Cat 1. I joined the then Wild Cherries Cycling Team and the rest is history. The following season we received new title sponsors from Marc Pro and Strava. Over the last 4 seasons, I have enjoyed much success on the local and national level and have had some disappointing moments as well. I have met a lot of great people and have become friends with even more.