In the photo: Mathias Jacquelin
Written by Mathias.
I was really looking forward to this race: some hills to climb in the heat of the Central Valley, how could I say no?!! The race was hard, and Will Farino and I were ready to give it our best shot.
As we were a rather small group and TMB Dev had only two riders in the race, we decided that it was best to not try to dictate things. The plan was just to be on the lookout, patiently waiting for the main climb, which I was sure would be making a selection.
We started rolling on a flat stretch of burning roads, hiding ourselves from the wind. After a first attack which saw the formation of the first tentative breakaway of the day, we stayed calm, confident that things would get in order by the time the hills would show up. Together with the Union Cycle guys, our group organized a reasonably fast paced chase, Will and I taking our share of pulls.
We got them back just before the main climb, as predicted. The attackers were rapidly dropped as 4 riders of our group, including myself, went hard without burning ourselves (the sun took care of that). By the end of the climb, we had forced the selection.
After a well deserved descent, the 4 of us organized the breakaway to annihilate any chase. The group worked well and after turning around in Lodoga, we could see the face of despair of our opponents, which led us to hammer a little bit more in the last climb of the day.
It was now time for the descent, followed by 20 miles of headwind. I was still feeling good at this point. We kept taking turns until the last stretch, where things got a little bit more exciting. Max Motschwiller launched his first attack, and I was the only one to jump in his wheel. It was clear that the victory would be mine or his.
He launched his sprint a little too early, and started to slow down. Unfortunately, the excitement had unplugged my brain at this point, and I decided to pass him, giving everything I had ... until I saw the 200m sign. Silly me! I can't tell you exactly what I thought at this particular moment, but I knew I wouldn't last another 200m at this pace. My legs slowly slowed down, agonizing in pain, as I could desperately see my buddy of the day Max making an equally painful come-back. He passed me two yards from the line, in the most miserable sprint finish ever, where his mistake was only covered by my own.
Finishing 2nd is a good result but I could not keep myself from being disappointed of not taking a win for TMB Dev, a win that was within my grasp. This is supposedly called learning. On to the next race and we shall see!
A big thanks to my teammates & captains, to Will who finished completely dehydrated, and to all our sponsors.