In the photo: Ben Marshal, Travis Mceuen, and Theo Goguely
Written by Ben.
First off, shout out to Nick at Mike’s Bikes Berkeley for gluing up my tubulars nice and snug the week before this race. Not something you want to be worried about railing corners with 30 other guys.
The plan was to ping enough moves off the front to force other teams to do work to chase things down, saving a few guys to lead out Travis and pad his Red Kite series lead. Given the wide open 4 corner course, I didn’t think that a small break would actually survive, but was perfectly willing to spend some effort for my teammates who do the same for me in hillier races.
Justin rolled off from the gun with one other rider and quickly gained 30+ seconds on a lackadaisical field. After a prime lap (ultimately picked up by Travis) motivated others to bring him back, Mikal took his turn off the front, joined by two others, a move that served its purpose fatiguing two of the few riders in the field motivated to chase down moves.
It took my turn next, and although my initial attack was followed by about 6 riders fighting for a prime, they had no interest in maintaining a gap. As they coasted back to the field, I jumped again out of this group, and this time it stuck. Each time I went around corner 4, I’d count to 10 and look back, and each lap the group would just be coming around the corner. That is, until with 3 laps to go, the gap swelled to over 20 seconds. This is the first time my thoughts changed from “I sure hope my teammates are resting back there so they can counter when I get caught,” to “hell, this could actually turn into a win!”
I upped my effort a bit to discourage any attempts to bridge, but there wasn’t much more to give. On the last lap though, I looked back at corner 4 and just saw the pack coming around corner 3, and I knew I had it.
HOWEVER, in a last minute panic, I questioned whether I really had one more lap, and didn’t post up at the finish just in case they were going to ring the 1 to go bell on me. Celebration opportunity squandered, but picked up two primes and the win, so I can’t complain!
Thanks to my teammates Justin, Mikal, Travis, Theo, Taylor, and Jungho for covering moves behind me, the support of our sponsors Mike’s Bikes, Equator Coffees, Toyota Cycling, Capo, Gu, Specialized, and Achieve Coaching, and kudos to Travis for winning the field sprint for 2nd and Theo coming across in 5th!
In the photo: Travis Keeney
Since the last post I decided to go back to corporate life and be an adult. That hasn't helped the results, but the weight room over the winter seems to have. In an effort to nab some points with the Tour of Gila and Sea Otter in full swing, I decided to make my way down to Red Kite for some criterium action. I've never considered myself a crit racer -- at all -- but something about smooth, flat, windy courses often yields results.
The race started off with a typical off-the-line Bobbert Terra attack which was then countered by some strong riders so I joined, especially since I knew Bob couldn't follow and he's owned the 2/3 Red Kite for a year now. The group of ~7 whittled down to to 5 and the gap stayed around 20-30 seconds when out of nowhere Bob shows up. With his teammate Sam Hill in the break already, I knew this wasn't good but at least the break was sure to stick. We proceeded to grow the gap and eliminate riders -- 30,45,60 seconds and then four of us lapped the field.
The race got very tactical but in the end it came down to two Williams riders and their second cousin A-Main versus me in a sprint and we all know how those go. Fortunately, I was able to get one at the line to bring home 3rd and a few points. Congrats to Sam Hill, who switched over to Williams this winter, on his impressive sprint victory -- looking strong, Sam!
Thanks to Mike's Bikes for all of their support along with our supporting sponsors Equator Coffees, Toyota Cycling, Capo, Gu, Specialized, Achieve Coaching, and others.