Glory. This is the what it all comes down to. This one word.
Months of training to deliver a legendary performance at the mecca of cycling: the Livermore Office Park.
I have a long history with this fabled arena - having raced the course half a dozen times and severely overheated on more than one occasion.
So when I arrived in July 2018, I came undaunted for the task at hand: race against the whose-who of the combined category 3 and category 4 northern California bike racing scene - 25 souls in all.
I was joined by 5 loyal teammates: Leo Fissel, Justin Balderston, Peadar O'Mochain, Dante Lobue, and Holger Steinmetzger, and our plan was simple: Win and bring glory to the TMB Development name.
The plan was simple, Justin, Peadar, Dante, and Holger were positioned at the front of the race, either instigating breaks or chasing breaks down. Leo and I would conserve energy, sit in, and attempt the win if it came to a bunch sprint.
From the starting whistle the race followed a very familiar 3/4 criterium format: 15 minutes of furious attacks, followed by a 15 minute lull, followed by 15 minutes of furious attacks. The notorious four corners of the office park helped dictate this familiar pattern, while our boys performed Herculean feats of cat and mouse against our rivals.
Peadar and Justin heavily weakened the field in the first 15 minutes, while Dante and Holger kicked the wind out of our foes on the final laps. Special shout out to Dante who remained out front working the field for 5 of the 8 final laps.
Into the second to last lap Leo unleashed holy hell while I stayed protected in the field. Going into the last lap Holger shouted for me to jump on his wheel and pulled me through corner 3 and into third wheel around corner 4. The guy in second wheel pulled around the first wheel as we went through the corner and sprang straight into an all-out sprint. I followed his wheel and tried to pull around him at the last minute, throwing my bike....
But it was not to be. He beat me to line. After all the hard work my teammates had put down the best I could do was 2nd. My teammates of course, were gracious, but I was disappointed in my performance. I should have positioned myself in second wheel going into corner 4.
Needless to say - glory had eluded me this day.
After licking my wounds for a few days, I realized that I want nothing more, than to return to this church of two wheels in Livermore, California, and once again navigate four corners to bring immortal glory to TMB Dev - and bring home the spoils of podium pictures and cheap wine.
Final shout out to my TMB Development teammates and our sponsors: Mikes Bikes, GU Energy Labs, Toyota, and Equator Coffees. You keep the dreams alive.