(photo: Jim Elder)
Fresh kit, fresh legs, first race of the season and amazing weather – ya you could say I was excited. Having thought my season was over before it started with a knee injury the week before, lining up to race was already a success. Over 100 registered riders on the day for the combined E3/4 and 35+ E3/4 field was going to make for an interesting race on such a short course.
Averaging 26.7 mph pace wasn’t too wild, and was actually pretty smooth -no major attacks, solo breaks or pace lining which favored single riders like myself. While a few of the teams were stacked pretty deep, most racers were still working out early season jitters and form.
Going into the race I had no game plan other than trying to be in top 10 by bell lap to give myself an opportunity to test the legs in a field sprint. I started the race off the back, trying to get a feel for where the teams were and how organized everyone was. It was a mess so the plan was to save my energy, stay safe and on the outside and wait for moments to freewheel to the front.
Having never seen any action with the 35+ field, I wasn’t sure who I needed to be worried about. Lap prime’s are always a free chance to view your competition, so I waited and watched but nothing clicked or stood out. It was fast and my heart rate was up, but it wasn’t clear if there was a wheel I needed to be thinking about in the final laps. Probably the 3rd lap prime I decided to put in a dig and warm the legs up, they felt good and from there out I was determined to stay top 10.
The lap cards started dropping and the pace held steady at 26 up to 30 mph. With 3 to go, I felt confident in my ability and was happy with my position. Bell lap came with some chatter in the group and the leadouts started to form from the outside. I took a glance from the inside line and never saw anything more than 2 team riders deep, so I sat and waited in 3rd position or so. Early on the backside, 2 riders went deep and it looked like the winning move.
(photo: Jim Elder)
I waited and heard nothing – no yelling or gearing down and I knew that was my opportunity. I bridged with a small gap and took a quick breather only to hear the hounds clawing at my heels.
I didn’t want to risk getting swarmed before the last corner, so I ripped the match book to hit the turn first. Head down, power up, and pedaled to victory, 100 vs 1.
A 35+ 123 story with John Novikoff –
With new kits and 70 degree weather, Cal Aggie would not disappoint. Being the season opener with warm temps I was hoping for a good turnout. Our squad and Thirstybear were the two dominant teams present for the day. We discussed the tactics prior to go time and kept the plan simple, making sure we stayed attentive to every move Thirstybear was in and were happy with our guys going up the road in a decisive move, or having it come down to a field sprint as we had some cards to play.
Antics started from the gun. Thirstybear was intent to get a group up the road. We covered and had great representation each time. Seemed like a decent move went up the road and we joined blocking with Thirstybear having Nate Dunn in the break, until he wasn’t in the break. Luckily it all came back together but then Michael Claudio of Thirstybear slipped off the front with 5 to go. We weren’t too concerned, although he has the power to TT for a while, and figured there would be other teams willing to not settle for pack finishes. The pace was ridiculously slow as no one came to help and Thirstybear did a great job blocking on the front. With 3 to go, our guys started taking pulls and closing the gap.
(photo: Jim Elder)
As a spectator this was one of those iconic finishes where the lone rider has been off the front and the peloton is closing in the final meters. I found Tyler’s wheel early on and knew Thirstybear would contend the sprint as they seemed organized to do so. Tyler with his magical touch keeping us in the right spots with me staying glued surfed well as he brought me into the final corner in perfect position. I had let Joe from Thirstybear slide in between us as I didn’t want him taking advantage of my draft in the sprint. We hit the gas out of the corner and drag raced to the line with us taking the field sprint.
(photo: Jim Elder)
Back to the Iconic finish comment earlier. After review of the video and photos, Michael Claudio was able to hold the peloton off with only a few meters giving us 2nd place with Thristybear 1st.
Stoked with the first result of the year.
It’s getting late in the year, but a few Data Driven Athlete Racing team members are still paying entry fees and representing well. Jeff Scott and Chris Flower got some results – congrats to both.
Jeff Scott – Mother Lode Epic
Jeff Scott won the Single Speed Open at the 2017 Santa Cruz Bicycles Mother Lode Epic on 8/19/2017.
In a complete contrast to Jeff’s single-speed Mtn bike race, Chris Flower took on an individual Time Trial in the blistering heat on 8/28/17 for the Esparto Time Trial. Chris missed 2nd by a whopping 5 seconds.
We discussed the Cascade Cycling Classic, Redlands Classic and National Championships; In addition, Andrew gave his perspective on how to balance respect for bike promoters and wanting more from a race. Plus we basically tried to figure out how to solve all the worlds cycling problems (no solutions found). Andrew has an interesting job that allows him to travel and indulge his enjoyment of photography and cycling – all topics are engage and more.
Andrew can be found at the following places:
- His photography :
- Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffee