After licking our wounds from the Copperopolis debacle, Marc Pro Strava came into Wente Road Race with a game plan and ready to throw down. Driving into Livermore, the winds were whipping the side of my car with 20mph gusts… Actually a large tree branch almost fell on top of my car while I was gearing up for the race. We had a quick team meeting prior to heading off on the 80 mile 6000′ wind driven road race. The game plan was to put riders in the early break, protect a select group of our big guns and watch Jesse Moore like hawks.
Pretty much from the gun there were riders off the front trying to make a break stick. The first break of the day had two from MPS (Spencer Collom and Keith Hillier). That was quickly reeled back and then again there was a break of 5-6 with a couple of Cal Giants and our work horse for the day Keith Hillier. From this point all we had to do was sit and watch other teams scramble to try and pull back the break. Yahoo drilled it into the head winds, while we sat and fueled up on clif bars and fluids… waiting for the next move. The break was eventually brought back by the hard work of yahoo and webcor at the base of the Wente Climb.
Jesse Miller Smith and Jesse Moore (Cal Giant) drilled the climb and got off the front. They continued over the top of the climb full gas with a sweet tailwind and gap growing quickly while they traded pulls for the move of the day. There was also a selection of about 25 riders on that climb, 6 being in the neon green of Marc Pro Strava. Again all we had to do was sit and watch Webcor turn themselves inside out and watch them scream at the pack to recruit help. The gap grew larger every time check.
Going into the start/finish climb before the last lap, we wanted to make sure the win was ours today. Not that I doubt the golden calves of Jesse Miller Smith or his ability to out climb any competition, but Jesse Moore is a tactical fox and has been playing odds in his favor for many years of NorCal cycling domination. I didn’t attack, but gently rolled off the front of the pack…I looked back and had a 10 second gap over the start/finish line…Nobody coming with…Motor on!!! Head down, legs driving hard and a tailwind blowing me up the course, I went for the solo bridge. Within about 5 minutes I had the Jesse’s in my site. I looked back and there was chase group of 4, with at least 1 MPS, but unsure if there were 2. No need to risk it, Jesse and me vs. Jesse Moore is in our favor. JMS said he saw the yellow shoes coming and did a mental fist pump when he knew he had fresh legs to work against Moore.
With the bridge complete, Jesse and I had a quick tactical discussion and continued to trade pulls with Jesse Moore helping.
Rolling into the long head wind section, the plan was to continue to work together and then start attacking with about 5k to go. Jesse and I traded attacks and counter attack, playing the bullying game with Jesse Moore. Dude this guy is strong….He covered 3 moves before Jesse finally got up the road. Jesse turned up the final climb, and I chilled on Moore’s wheel and watched my boy tearing up the final climb. Game over. I turned my head and saw Spencer Collom trying to bridge to us solo from the chase group. Could we make this 1, 2, and 3…Naaa…A little too much of a gap. Jesse Moore towed me up the final climb until about the 200m mark, when I attacked for 2nd and a spot in the celebration dance picture of Jesse Miller Smith. As Jesse and I high fived we turned to watch Spencer secure 4th and Frank smoked the chase sprint for 5th!!! 1,2,4,5!!! That’s how you play the team game.