Win No.12 (for the bike, not me)
This win meant a lot to me...
I am an engineer at Specialized and was part of the team that designed the new Venge that was released to the public the day before. While I already had my bike for a couple months, I could only take it out for solo rides, so I had no race experience on the new bike. With the embargo lifting on the 3rd, it was clear to me that I wanted to go to the next possible race and win it. This race happened to be the Davis 4th of July Criterium.
In the Pro-1-2 field this race is the district championship, so most of the 2s team was there. In Category 3 I had support from James Grady. We have done quite a few crits together this season and ride very well together, so we decided to race by the moment and trust our intuition and experience.
As the race got going I tried to sit 3rd to 5th wheel and let people go off the front. I like having people off the front since it gives me options to play with. Either people will chase those attacks down and tire themselves out or they let that group go and I can bridge up to them.
Straight from the beginning, it seemed the field was not in a chasing mood and one rider broke away after 5 minutes and gained ground quickly. Just before he got out of sight I decided to bridge up to him and caught him in a lap.
We worked pretty hard and the gap grew to almost 30 seconds. From then on we kept it steady and did half lap pulls and kept the gap that we had made. As we got to 30 minutes I started to believe that we could stay away. The way we rotated would put me at the front for the sprint and with the short distance of the finish after the chicanes, I was pretty confident I could win it from the front.
As we entered the last two chicanes I tried to pick up speed through the turns and clipped a pedal pretty hard. I regained control of the bike, picked up the speed a little bit more carefully through the last turn and then went for it. I could see my break-mate making up ground on the left of me, but I managed to hang on to the win with a bike throw and roughly of half a bike length.
Thanks a lot to James Grady for blocking hard for me in the peloton and to David Sweet of Sunpower for working well in the break with me.