The final weekend of the Cal Cup had arrived. Since University Road Race, I had been on form and in a position to fight for Podium positions in every race. It was a three man race between Evan Huffman (Cal Giant), Yuri Yurchanka (McGuire Cycling) and myself. I had some serious ground to make up due to a crash at Patterson, poor tactics at Dunnigan and missing San Ardo.
Challenge Challenge Road Race P12
This one was gonna hurt. I haven’t raced Challenge before, but was warned that it was continually up, down and rough. Art, Keith, Andy (Baller from masters team racing P12’s) and myself met up in the middle of nowhere to thrash our bodies. We rolled out neutral through the roughest section of road I’ve encoutnered so far this year. At the bottom of the hill we regrouped and started the race. Immediately Keith was off the front, this was great because Huffman, for the first time this year, was without a million teammates. He was forced to bring back any move that was threatening. The first lap was pretty mellow otherwise, since everyone had fresh legs and the temp hadn’t reached its boiling point.
To start the second lap Yuri (McGuire Cycling) attacked uphill going into the rough section… I was able to hang, but this caused carnage to the field. Not only did it split the field, but it sent us ripping downhill into the rough section. I thought I was going to die, carbon snapping, flats left and right, water bottles flying, rocks kicking up, and deer running across the road. Once the dust settled and we regrouped at the bottom (Pointless Attack!!!), Art and Keith had flatted. The dwindling field headed into the Oregon Hill Rd climb, when Yuri hit the gas again…My eyes crossed at the pace he was setting as I peaked at what I already knew, 500+ watts… Hang on and sit on wheels. The group of 15 split, but regrouped in the long downhill section. Andy soon rejoined the main group and soon after I saw Keith working his way back. Nice, numbers are good. The attacks continued, but nothing was going to stick…It was a race of attrition, and I was in no mood to attack. My fat ass was going sit on wheels, hang on untill the finish and try my chances there.
The third lap started a little easier down the rough section, but Andy still flatted. The survivors were down to about 8 guys. Huffman tried a solo attack that didn’t work, but we let him sit out there for awhile and slowly pulled him back. Keith was worked by this point, but went to the front to set tempo up the climbs in order to discourage attacks. I think the entire field was completely exhausted. We rolled up to the final 1K all together. Keith attacked to set me up, and when he was brought back I was in a tight spot unable to counter. Yuri lead out the sprint with 300 meters to go…I was practicing patience and was waiting for Huffman to respond, he responded but didn’t have the legs to bridge… Damn it…Too late. Yes I was 2nd again. Keith 5th and strongman Andy soloed the final lap for a top 10 finish.
Esparto Time Trial P12
My final race of the Cal Cup Series…I was skipping the Giro S.F because the standings were pretty much final. Not gonna lie, I wanted a win bad. Not much to say except I gave it everything. The course seemed to have a light cross-head wind the entire time. I was about to blow up half way through, when I took a few minutes and dropped my watts… I was not feeling it. I hit the turnaround like a true amatuer and started on my way back. I got a second wind… this never happens, but I did. I gave it everything I had. 402 watts for 38:53, this must have been enough for the win… Nope Huffman got me by 17 seconds.
Keith and I finished 4th and 3rd respectively in the Cal Cup Overall. Not bad considering the bad start of the series. The series was a blast, and a great way to wrap up the season. A big thanks to all the teammates that came out to race and help me take a stab at winning the series. Luckily my efforts for the Cal Cup moved me up in the overall standings for NCNCA and Premier Series competitions to 1st… We’ll see if I can hang on to those leads.