Written by Chris Craig:
Proud to say the TMB Development team achieved its first P1/2 win after I was able to take home a W at San Ardo! Huge thanks for my teammates, sponsors, and the many others who helped our team reach this milestone.
Here’s how we planned the race…
San Ardo was an off-week for most of us, but I was able to convince Adam Naguib to sign up. The race was well attended by Terun, Specialized Muscle Milk, Dolce Vita, and a few smaller teams – total field size of 29 riders. Our plan was to have Adam and I trade attacks until a break went then if the break was caught; I would line up for the field sprint. Adam and I have raced together quite often so it required little discussion, we were ready to go. The race is four laps around central valley with rolling hills towards the first half and a long straight-away for the second part. One unique element, compared to other races, is the finish is only crossed on the last lap (turning left and then 200m flat sprint). This makes it difficult on how to best anticipate and plan a field sprint
Here’s how it happened…
Lap 1 – Adam and I raced exactly how I would hope. Both of us were very aggressive and constantly getting into mini-breaks to try and get a solid break to form. My NP was that of a crit for the first lap! Adam and I even managed to counter a move at the exact same time and get into a mini-break of the two of us (not intended!). A few attacks later we got Adam in a break with Olympic Club and Terun.
Lap 2 – I sat in as much as possible for the majority of lap two. Everything was going to plan with our team in a break. The break gained as much as 2-minutes on the field. The effort to pull the break back was led by Specialized Muscle Milk.
Lap 3 – I continued to sit in and enjoy the scenery, then drama struck. As many know, San Ardo is notorious for flats, and two members of the break flatted out. The break was left with only a solo Olympic Club rider, and Terun / Adam off the back and out of the race. With that terrible luck, I gave Adam a wave, as we passed, and knew it was up to me.
Lap 4 – I put in lots of work throughout laps 1-3 and decided to take my chances on the field sprint. Throughout lap 4 I sat in as much as possible to converse energy. As I was the only rider on the team left, this meant I had to let some moves go off the front, the bet was all on the field sprint. We caught Olympic Club halfway through lap 4 and the race was back together. With 3k to go a move with Terun and Vegan Cyclist went off the front and put as much as 30 seconds on the field. I let Olympic Club and Specialized Muscle Milk work to pull back the move. With 1k left we caught the break of two! The field sprint was going to happen. Riders started to attack and the group strung out going into the final 800m. I continued to sit in waiting to make my move. Going into the final 400m I attacked from the outside to move into position, but was pushed over the double yellow and was immediately relegated by the ref (fortunately just back to my previous position). Then, I saw an opening and jumped into 5th wheel going into the final left hand turn. The field started to sprint and I rode wheels, moving into 4th, 3rd, then 2nd; until the final 50m. When we hit the final 50m I opened up my sprint and, while cramping, managed to past 2nd and cross the line in 1st! I couldn’t believe it!
Team Mikes Bikes Development winning our first P1/2 is a huge achievement and milestone for the team. I was honored to be able to get the win for the team and excited for what it meant in terms of our development process. The team has come a long way since the beginning of the season and we proved ourselves to be a fighting force among the big teams. Wanted to again thank our sponsors and my teammates for our support to get the win. Onward!