With Aria, Travis, and Mark lining up to race the elite 4 field at the 2015 edition of the Cantua Creek road race, the plan was to sit in and smash the final mile of climbing to gain Mark and Aria maximum upgrade points. However, after the first 5 miles of racing, it quickly became apparent that the plan would need to be modified…
Cantua Creek is a 13 mile out-and-back with an uphill finish, 3 laps, rolling hills, and 72 miles of breezy racing. The race started off mellow with the group of 20+ racers riding very slowly; it seemed everyone else had the same plan. After seeing this, Travis went to the front in an attempt to pick up the pace and draw a few competitors to use a match or two, but no one took the bait.
Now, just 5 miles into a 72 mile race, Travis was off the front alone. Not wanting to use up too much energy, he held threshold wattage content with being caught but to his surprise, the lead continued to grow. Around mile 30, the lead was around 1:30 as a Specialized Muscle Milk rider bridged the gap solo and the two worked their lead out to around 4 minutes.
Meanwhile in the peloton, small attacks by multiple racers were often and fruitless for the first two laps. After seeing that no break would be possible on the flats, Mark decided to cause a break during the climb at the end of the second lap; this break also included Aria and 3 other riders.
The break worked together for the first half of the final lap, but after the final turn around Mark shot off from the group with one other racer clinging to his wheel. Together they held a strong pace, Mark primarily pulling, until the last climb where Mark pulled away from his nearby opponent.
At the finish, it was Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator taking 2nd, 3rd, and 5th — another strong early showing for the team.