Folsom Winter Criterium M35+ 3/4
Race Report by Jason Smith.
Coming into the race, my expectations were high and I was feeling the pressure to do well for the last couple weeks. All week long I was playing out the way I wanted things to go in my head to mentally prepare for the race. The weather forecast was looking shaky, so I made sure to pre-reg so that I couldn’t back out if it rained.
Come race day, I was excited to break out the newly minted 2017 Data Driven Athlete Racing kit and was hopeful to get to be the first person to have it displayed on a podium. As we lined up, I began to take stock of who was going to be in the race and what I thought they might do. I knew that I needed to keep Nick Roberti, Danny Mossman and Jose Cuevas in my sights at all times, as they can all finish a race in a hurry. The race started pretty smooth as everyone seemed motivated to stay together, and it must have been apparent to the organizers because they started in with the primes. First up was the beer prime and Roberti was near the front. I knew he is a master prime hunter and while the beer prime didn’t interest me, I wanted to keep close in case it lead to a break. Next prime was $50 and since that was more than the race purse, it had my interest. I tried to be near the front so that I could make the jump after the last corner and it worked out. It was also a good chance for a little finishing practice and my race day was now paid for.
A break got away lead by Alex Velez of Folsom Bikes and they were staying away. At first I wasn’t too worried because the Tesla team had a full squad in the race and didn’t have anyone up the road. But Tesla weren’t at the front and break wasn’t coming back. Sierra Nevada then went to work with Greg Price of Rio Strada Racing and led the charge and got everyone back together with 4-5 laps to go. I knew at that point I needed to stay toward the front and make sure that nothing else got away. As we approached the last lap, it slowed down just a bit, then as we hit the last lap it ramped back up. As a result, I got swallowed up a bit on the long back stretch. As we hit the final curve, I was probably too far back, but feeling very comfortable. Nick Roberti really opened it up and the race for the podium was on. I probably came out of the final turn somewhere between 5-10th and looked for where my clear path would be. I let loose and began to make up spots. I found a slot on the inside and was able to come across the line first. Another great day on the bicycle, next stop Cat 2! (full results)