Pineflat Road Race -Elite 4 mens
February 15th, 2015
With Mark Rotondi, Travis Keeney and Aria Kiani racing in the Pine Flat Road Race, Travis' objective was to stay active and chase down breakaways, keeping the pace high leading into the primary climb where Mark needed to to push hard up the initial climb shaking out opponents to help lead Aria to the finish. The race consists of a 13 mile out-and-back that leads into a 20 mile flat section followed by rolling hills and Wildcat -- a category 3 climb -- and then the course descends down to another category 4 climb where the finish line is located.
Pine Flat Road Race is located just south of Yosemite and offers unique views of the Sierra National Forest but for the Mike's Bikes Team, we had a race to win. The beginning of the out-and-back was smooth sailing, riders wanting the pace high let us sit in for a good half of the race. A couple riders went for attacks but Travis caught them and brought the groups together after having them sit in the wind for a little while. Mark and Aria were sitting pretty. The pace never let up which helped weed out the field as they started to tire (special thanks to #OsmoNutrition for providing hydration and electrolytes to keep us fresh as possible). As the team approached the rolling hills, responsibility was then shifted to Mark and Aria to finish the last 15 miles strong.
A crucial right hand turn called The Coral started the ascent up Wildcat. The pace remained high with riders going off the front then getting caught by Mark. The attrition began as riders simply couldn’t sustain the high pace that he was putting out. Wildcat was steady and steep as the pack of 20ish riders whittled down to just 4 by the summit which included Aria following Mark's wheel. As the descent started, a rider gapped Aria while he was following another rider. By the end of the descent Aria had chased the break down with one other opponent. The catch was made 1.5km to finish and 1km from the last climb to the top. A 10 meter gap was put on during the fist, steepest, part of the climb by the same person who was caught moments before but Aria was able to bridge the gap after the steep section, dropping the 3rd place rider. With 200 meters to go, Aria was in good position and already in sprint gear with a slow cadence. The opponent shifted into his big ring and Aria took off in a sprint with less the 100 meters to go. The opponent could not respond and Aria took the well deserved victory.
Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees continue to carry momentum with a 1st, 4th and 9th.