Lakeport Twilight Crit (E3)

In the photo: James Grady

In the photo: James Grady

To say it was hot would be an understatement. The 3 PM start time was by far the hottest part of the day, with the temperature topping 100 degrees. After a nearly three-hour, air-conditioned car ride the heat was as welcome and inevitable as an elbow from Cavendish. It’s been 10 years since I moved to San Francisco from the Phoenix area, and I almost missed the oppressive heat. (If you’ve never had the pleasure, turn your oven to 500 degrees, open the door, and stick your face in.) I hopped on some rollers to warm up but after a couple of minutes realized that would be completely unnecessary.

Prior to the start of the race, the organizers and race commentator did some call-ups. One of the juniors in our race won the pre-registration raffle prize, a brand new Specialized Allez Sprint. The commentator cheekily asked who was going to win the race so I stuck my hand up. Why not? It’s hot but I’m feeling good. The field was small but strong with a few notables like Gino Gabuyo (LOW), Doug Schaller (A Bloc Racing), and Tom Perkins (JAKROO). Apparently, I was the only one with the confidence (or stupidity?), so I got a call-up!

The race got off to a decent start, with the field feeling out the course, ever-present heat, and twice per lap water shower, provided by helpful volunteers. (At first, I found the hosing off annoying but by the end of the race I was aiming for them in a fruitless attempt to beat the heat.)

On the sixth lap a Davis junior went for a prime and my teammate Glen Feller gave chase. Davis gave up after winning the prime but Glen stayed out there so I got to work. I stayed near the front disrupting any efforts to organize. I ended up on the front several times just riding tempo so help Glen put time on us. Nobody seemed interested in coming around and the few flyers (I let them go so they could possibly help Glen) couldn’t bridge the gap and were soon reabsorbed.

Despite Glen’s valiant effort, we caught him with about three or four laps to go. Everyone was playing it cool until we came to the finish line on the bell lap; Gino took off on the outside and we quickly gave chase. The hill was the great equalizer of the day and this time was no different; I was able to hold position and was fourth wheel cresting the hill. Andy Garzoli (Main Street Elite) was first, followed by Gino. Eric Fisher (Cycle Sport) was third but was quickly falling back, so I jumped around him and caught Gino’s wheel just before the second to last turn. Going into the last turn, Andy let up just a little bit forcing Gino - taking the inside line - to slow. With the finish line only ~110m from the corner, I decided to try my luck with the outside line. I put in a big dig and was able to pass Gino, but couldn’t quite catch up to Andy, who finished first.

After a long race in the stifling heat, I am happy with my result as well as the work I did to help my teammate stay away.