After living in a fetal position for three days, and fighting a narley virus, I crawled out of bed thursday morning with one thing on my mind… Cal Cup!! Dang this was not how I wanted to start the series of races that finishes the NorCal racing season. I struggled to push my legs around for a couple of days before making the 3am shuttle to the Warnerville Time Trial.
I arrived with plenty of time to warm up and was not looking forward to the nearly 50 minutes of pain I was about to feel. There was a pretty legit tailwind on the way out which meant it was really going to hurt coming home. Velo Promo advertises the TT as 20 miles…reality 22.4!!! That’s a lot of discrepancy when your fighting with your machine to go faster. The course is pretty flat, but has plenty of rollers, rough pavement, wind and an uphill finish that bits hard to take you out of a rhythm. I set off from the start chasing my biggest competitor of the day, Torrey Phillip (Cal Giant). Unfortunately, I never saw him in the distance, and my legs were not ready to put out the power I needed to win. The outbound leg was fun because we had a ripping tailwind, and my average speed was around 32mph at the turnaround…Inbound leg = no fun. I died, barely made it up the final hill and limped across the finish like I just finished an Ironman. At least I opened the legs for tomorrow…
Patterson Pass Road Race:
Patterson Pass has to be the most challenging NorCal course I have taken part of. It’s long, hot, cold, windy and has 9000′ of climbing in 90 miles. I’ve never finished this race in my two attempts and had a score to settle with this mean bitch. Jesse, Kris, Art and I made the start line with plenty of time to have Kris give my bike a last minute tune-up and some quick tactics discussion. We set off with a field of about 40-50 at a nice easy pace. On the first lap 2 brave souls rolled off the front and established a gap…Silly! Towards the end of lap 1 Kris attacked and took James Mattis (Cal Giant) and a 3rd rider along. The 2nd time up Patterson Pass there were a few desent attacks into the wind that went nowhere, and metromint set a hard tempo up Altamont Pass which reeled in both groups up the road…
This was when the race was decided Torey Phillip (Cal Giant) attacked into a strong headwind just before the ripping tailwind section…I unwillingly followed and bridged up to him. We got a small gap and kept the gas on. With other teams catching a breather from the previous break and Marc Pro-Strava & Cal Giant shutting everything down, our gap quickly grew.
As we came through the start finish line with two laps (45 miles) to go, I thought this could hurt. If you are a big guy and you can choose a breakaway companion pick someone bigger than half your size!! Torey set a pace that almost dropped me up Patterson and we traded pulls like a well drilled team for the remainder of lap 3.
Heading into the last lap we got word that our gap was in excess of over 7 minutes with a single chaser at 2… Game over, just finish. Torey and I struggled to move up Patterson Pass with some super fun 30mph headwind…after that we found some water and shared it like a couple of crazed dudes trippin on peyote in the middle of the desert. I actually gave Torey a “sip” of my own rations. On the final roller just before the finish, I dropped my chain. After I fixed it Torey looked at me and said “That was where I wanted to attack, but I couldn’t pull a Contador.” Excellent sportsmanship, I must say. With 1K to go we were barely moving looking at each other and waiting…yep track stands. Torey jumped with 300meters to go and I responded with just enough to stay next to him but not pass. Art and Jesse finished shortly after in the remainder of the survivors after they and Kris slayed themselves to keep the field at bay. Yes, TEAMWORK!!