In the Photo: Sam Hill
Written by Sam.
The Red Kite series has been known to have simple and fast criterium courses. With 55 total ⅔ racers, it was going to live up to that reputation. As a team we had ten racers total (seven dev riders and three masters). If no breaks would stick, our gameplan was to win the field sprint with Robert Terra, or me.
As soon as the race started, I made it my personal mission to try to stay top 15 throughout the race. Before the race we made special note to keep an eye on other teams, such as Amain, to make sure we got in any moves they were in. I found myself just tagging along other moves throughout the race.
It felt like attacks were going off every lap, but the race didn’t get interesting for me, until halfway through when four riders got off the front. One of them being Travis Keeney along with an Amain rider, Specialized - Cycle Sport, and the current Red Kite points leader. It seemed like at first it was going to be the move that would decide the race until counter attacks started going off and we eventually caught the riders, and it was all back together.
Going a little bit ahead, we were now in the last 20 minutes of the race, when Travis and one other rider got away again. We never lost sight of them on the straightaways, but they were holding a steady gap, until the whole lot of counterattacks went off. It was a solid move because they were off for quite a while, but after they were caught it was time to get ready to sprint.
Going into the last lap, I was motioned by John Funke, of the master’s team, to follow his wheel. With Robert Terra ahead of him, they got me a bit farther up in the field, and I followed another wheel to get in the top ten going into the second corner. Now, this is where it all went crazy. Since the finish line is around 150m after the third corner, you really have to jump early. So, while the whole field was scrunched on the right side of the road, I decided to jump a little bit before the third corner, so about 225m to go. This was the correct choice, because as I was coming out of the turn, I heard carbon hitting the deck way behind me. Three riders were still ahead of me on the finishing straight, because they made their moves way before me. I passed the rider in third place, and I was actually gaining on first and second by the time I hit the line, but they had too much of a gap on me when I started my sprint.
I was happy that we rode well as a team in this race, when we had someone at the front we would start to head up to the front of the field and follow any moves that went. We were very lucky to not have anyone injured in the crash. Ultimately at the end of the day, we got a podium finish in a large field in an aggressive race.
Thank you to a few people that help me succeed so much in cycling, my parents, my coach, Adam Switters, my teammates, and last, but not least our great sponsors: Mike’s Bikes, Equator Coffees (I had four coffees that day for the record), Specialized Bikes, Violich Farms, Osmo Nutrition (great because it almost was super warm!), Probar, Smith Optics, Toyota, Bikesmart, and Capo.