We had close to 40 guys for Wente this year, and it’s a longer race than we normally have (66 miles with 5,000 feet of climbing). We had several of the strongest climbers from Northern California in the field.
Last year, we just noodled the first lap, and I figured that’s what we’d do this year, but no: Steve Archer went immediately to the front and pulled us to the hill. And then Rob Anderson picked up the pace making. So the first lap was relatively brisk.
We did four laps, and there were no significant moves for most of the race. Teammate Kevin Keenan tried a few short moves, but Rob Anderson quickly covered these attacks, so Kevin would back off in response. Teammate George Smith and I stayed hidden in the pack, lap after lap.
Near the top of the highest point on the course on the fourth and final lap, I attacked and tried as hard as I could to get away. Perhaps this was misguided. I could have sat in the pack and saved my legs for the final climb. But what’s done is done, and I fully committed myself for a solo break. I was out for about 20 minutes before they caught me on the flats before the first roller. I had about 15 minutes to recover before the climb. I didn’t spend much time worrying about whether I was foolish, and just let it go and gathered myself for the finish.
About half a mile from the finishing climb, Paul Gossi went OTF and had about 100 meters on us. Kevin Keenan went to the front and kept the pace high, Paul Gossi reasonably close, and our group safe as he dragged us to the base of the hill. I was right behind Steve Archer, who was behind Kevin.
At the bottom of the hill I went as hard as I could and when I looked back I thought I had 50 meters on Steve and a small group of chasers. I didn’t slow down, and so I thought that perhaps today was my day even though I had used a big bullet with my solo effort. Again, as we climbed the crowd roared, “Go Steve! Go Steve!” I’m thinking, “This is getting old.”
When I looked back I could see that Steve was closing, and he caught me about 250 meters from the finish. At 100 meters, he sprinted away and won. He’s quite a fighter.
George Smith rolled in 7th, Kevin Keenan finished 10th, and Paul McKenzie got 13th.
Thanks for reading,