Author - Erik Vangnes
I was pretty excited about this race since it is about as close to my house as it gets, and figured I could do well since the course suited me. There was a decent climb each lap that I could use to move up in the field and very little time for recovery, which I'm used to from cyclocross racing. Plus there were 7 TMB dev riders lined up at the start, which was awesome to see! The course was a short, 4 corner rectangle that was either up or down and pretty much full gas all the time.
Before the race, I joked that it would be fun to try a cyclocross start at the beginning and go for the hole shot to see if we could blow up the race early on. Unfortunately, I decided to do a practice lap before our start to scope out the line through the potholes at the bottom of the course and had to line up at the back of the field. A tangle in front of me at the start and a pretty fast pace from the gun meant I had some catching up to do instead.
After pinning it for the first few laps to move up to where I felt more comfortable in the main field, Zach was already off the front where he remained for most of the race. That kept the pace pretty high as a few riders did all the work chasing, and I was able to sit in comfortably (as comfortably as one can at threshold I guess). By the halfway point, it looked like most of the field had been pulled, and I was feeling pretty good about our prospects. Ryan was pretty active at the front either covering attacks or blocking to give Zach a little more time, but we ended up catching him with maybe 6 or 7 to go. Nice job Zach and Ryan!
I moved up to 4th wheel for the last few laps and was definitely feeling like I could pull off the win if I could just hold my position. Headed into to the final downhill stretch, the rider in front of me abruptly pulled out and decided he wanted me to lead him out through the final two turns (nice try dude). That instantly created a gap ahead of me into turn three, and I realized I was probably racing for third place. I waited until the final turn to jump, dropping the guy who was hoping I would lead him out, but I couldn't quite catch the Cal rider ahead of me and crossed the line for 3rd.
Pretty solid results for TMB dev with three top tens in a tough race! Hopefully NCNCA will let me upgrade to be a 4 now...