In the photo: Adam Naguib, Emile Goguely (?)
Written by Adam and team.
Lodoga Road Race is a difficult race. The race has distance, climbing and worst of all, lots of Californian Summer heat. That meant that the plan would be even harder to implement. Not only were we trying to bring together all the variables that get chucked together in any road race, but we’d be doing it in tough conditions.
TMB Dev signed-on a squad of four. The plan was pretty extensive and involved the team dictating events during the race from from when the flag was dropped to the end. It was pretty ambitious but with the riders available we knew we had a great shot at achieving our objective. The strategy was to dictate terms until the major climb in the race, which came 45 miles in, then hit the climb, make a selection, and push it to the finish. So a pretty extravagant plan!
We hit the ground running with Travis Keeney, tasked with controlling affairs up to the climb, attacking the gun. Brought back, he went again, a pattern repeated multiple times. Some of these moves were snuffed out instantly, some lasted longer and served to force others to keep tempo in the field and work- exactly according to plan. After a little over 15 miles another well timed move from Travis gained separation, as well as a couple of riders. This didn’t go unnoticed by other teams and quickly others tried to bridge. Trevor Gilmore, positioned to monitoring these moves on the front of the bunch latched onto a bridge attempt and in short order made it across to Travis and his breakmates, making a total of 5. Another rider tried to bridge, and as the next TMB Dev rider up front on patrol I jumped on his wheel. We got separation and a few short sharp efforts later we’d bridge too. With that, the break of the day with 7 riders was set, with 3 TMB Dev riders in the mix. Add onto that our remaining rider in the field, Emile Goguely who was ready to respond if we were brought back, and we were in a strong position.
This fit in perfectly with the planned strategy. As the break solidified everyone in the group went to task to push out the gap. Cooperation was smooth with especially large contributions from Trevor, who gave everything to the move to make it stick, and from Travis who played out his role of driving things to the major climb to perfection. We pressed on.
The miles ticked down as we approached the major obstacle of the day, a pig of a climb up Sites in baking sun, absent any shade. As we hit the base of the climb things were set. Travis and Trevor, having given everything to the move dropped off at the base, signaling the next phase of the plan. We’d earned about a 90 second head start on the field by the beginning of the ascent leaving us in a prime position. I hit the climb knowing that strong effort would trouble my remaining 4 breakmates. Pressing on at a pace that I knew was sustainable but would pressure the others, I pushed on.
While action was heating up at the front, Emile, fresh from sitting in for the first 1.5 hours, pressed hard from the base of the climb and began to tear apart remnants of the peloton. By the top, things seemed to be swinging in our favor. The pace on the climb had dropped 3 riders from the leading group, leaving just me and one other. Emile was slowly running each one of those riders down as well. With 35 miles to go to the finish, it was on. The team had set things up perfectly.
The race had involved a big effort and as we worked together the miles began to fade away. There were still obstacles in our way: including climbs, oppressive heat and a persistent headwind. Despite that we managed to extend our advantage. For whatever we were struggling with, the others behind were too. As we edged closer to our final destination the race began to take its toll on me. We’d been out front since mile ~15 and there’d been no shortage of effort in that time. My pulls became shorter, my power was creeping lower, but we pressed on.
With ~8 miles to the finish my breakmate attacked. I was struggling but managed to summon some of my remaining gusto to stomp the pedals and latch onto his wheel. Sensing my weakness, half a mile later another attack. This time I was unable to respond, I’d spent a lot out on the road and now it was time to pay the bill. With that, the race was set. I set tempo as best I could for the remaining, tortuous 7 miles. Up to this point we acquired a significant advantage over the remnants of the peloton with the moto ref giving time splits of 10+ minutes. There were a few riders in between but no-one within 5 minutes. I crossed the line in second place virtue of a fantastic team effort.
Although we were unable to take the victory, and were beaten by someone simply stronger on the day, the cohesion and unity of purpose that the team displayed was truly outstanding. A big thank you to our sponsors for their support. Thanks to them, TMB Dev has been a bastion of talent and teamwork for many years -- Mike’s Bikes, Equator Coffee and Teas, Toyota, Specialized, Capo, and Gu.
In the photo: Mathias Jacquelin
Written by Mathias.
I was really looking forward to this race: some hills to climb in the heat of the Central Valley, how could I say no?!! The race was hard, and Will Farino and I were ready to give it our best shot.
As we were a rather small group and TMB Dev had only two riders in the race, we decided that it was best to not try to dictate things. The plan was just to be on the lookout, patiently waiting for the main climb, which I was sure would be making a selection.
We started rolling on a flat stretch of burning roads, hiding ourselves from the wind. After a first attack which saw the formation of the first tentative breakaway of the day, we stayed calm, confident that things would get in order by the time the hills would show up. Together with the Union Cycle guys, our group organized a reasonably fast paced chase, Will and I taking our share of pulls.
We got them back just before the main climb, as predicted. The attackers were rapidly dropped as 4 riders of our group, including myself, went hard without burning ourselves (the sun took care of that). By the end of the climb, we had forced the selection.
After a well deserved descent, the 4 of us organized the breakaway to annihilate any chase. The group worked well and after turning around in Lodoga, we could see the face of despair of our opponents, which led us to hammer a little bit more in the last climb of the day.
It was now time for the descent, followed by 20 miles of headwind. I was still feeling good at this point. We kept taking turns until the last stretch, where things got a little bit more exciting. Max Motschwiller launched his first attack, and I was the only one to jump in his wheel. It was clear that the victory would be mine or his.
He launched his sprint a little too early, and started to slow down. Unfortunately, the excitement had unplugged my brain at this point, and I decided to pass him, giving everything I had ... until I saw the 200m sign. Silly me! I can't tell you exactly what I thought at this particular moment, but I knew I wouldn't last another 200m at this pace. My legs slowly slowed down, agonizing in pain, as I could desperately see my buddy of the day Max making an equally painful come-back. He passed me two yards from the line, in the most miserable sprint finish ever, where his mistake was only covered by my own.
Finishing 2nd is a good result but I could not keep myself from being disappointed of not taking a win for TMB Dev, a win that was within my grasp. This is supposedly called learning. On to the next race and we shall see!
A big thanks to my teammates & captains, to Will who finished completely dehydrated, and to all our sponsors.