Written by: Aria Kiani
This race is 86miles w/ 7500 ft of climbing, 4 laps for the cat3's. There were 43 riders to start but in the end it was only a fraction of that. We started off smooth a slow, no one really wanting to break away. The climbers would surge and stretch the field but just to change up the pace. The first lap was controlled.
My plan was predetermined days before. A racer who was definitely an all arounder - who I helped win the yellow in San Dimas stage race - was my partner in crime when it came to designing a breakaway for this race, Ben Foster from Ritte. We wanted to get a group somewhere in the middle and then on the last lap takeoff on the climb. He needed a bit more points to upgrade so I proposed the idea that if we work together I'll let him take the win while I settle with my points with 2nd.
In theory the idea didn't make sense as both of us should have been marked since we both have had our successful races the weeks before. I initiated a change in pace, tempo to low end of threshold on the second lap and made the group from 40 separate to an 8 rider selection, mainly climbers.
From there on, Ben and I conducted pacing duties. "Keep the rotation going" -"good job" -"clear" I sounded like a broken record but it kind of calmed my nerves. Seeing everyone working together felt like a proper breakaway. "One minute and fifty five seconds" says the moto on the end of the second lap. And we kept to rotation going.
"Two minutes and 30" from the moto. This was after the climb going around the lake halfway through the third loop. This was what Ben and I were looking for. He asks me how I feel, I just felt calm. A grin for a response.
Closing in on the end of the third lap at the climb we pushed and noticed a gap forming, "let's go-let's go!" Down the hill we went and the gap got larger towards the end of the lap. then a descent that would numb my forearms each time- across the end of the lap. The last uphill on the final lap we gained 2 more minutes. Ben pushed it on the flat while I finish the remainder of my food and water. We rotate probably at 2 minute intervals. the last hill felt like we were crawling but that's because we were averaging P/1/2 speeds since the break. We keep at it, I took over the descent and max out cadence on the super rough cobbled-like road surface at 47mph into the finishing 1km sign. We shake hands and I say congrats and we thank each other, just overally excited that our idea worked to perfection.
I came in second and got my points to upgrade to cat 2. A cool 7min 10 seconds comes by before 3rd place comes across the line. 14min and 30 seconds for the group - A good day for TMBdev and a lesson learned! Forming an alliance with an opponent is a cheeky way to get to the top.