[gallery] With many members of the team spread out at Elite/U23 Nationals and the neighboring Apple Pie Criterium, Jim Wingert and I were the only two Mike's Bikes riders to hit the start line of another classic NorCal road race, the Pescadero Coastal Classic. The race's beautiful, challenging course, as well as it's proximity to home, makes it one of my favorite road races of the year. It also features two pretty significant descents, which is great for me and my Tarmac SL4 to shred some corners on. I also won it one year way back when, huh, just remembered that!
Unlike years past, the race started under sunny skies and pleasant temperatures, with nary a fog bank to be seen. Our basic plan was for me to get into the early break, allowing Jim to stay in the field and conserve energy until his final lap assault on the finish. I covered some moves right from the gun, and got myself the first sprint prime which comes just a few minutes into the race. Jonathan Teeter (Marc Pro) and I built up a pretty nice lead over Stage Rd, but I promptly dropped him the second the road tipped downhill (oops) and set off alone.
My chances of staying away solo on the windy flatter part of the course we basically nil so I set a nice tempo over the remainder of Stage Rd until the pack caught me about halfway into the lap. Attacks were flying with Jim right up there, but nothing staying away. I rested a bit, then followed a move with Roman K (Kenda) and James Oram (Bontrager LS). I was pretty happy to be trading pulls with them leading up to the finishing climb, but they gapped me and I was eventually reabsorbed. Jim again countered over the top, drawing out Nate English, Kirk Carlsen, and others. I chilled at the back of my chasing group for a lap til we caught the leaders again.
Typically the tough yet beautiful scenery is enough to keep me entertained and engaged at this race, but this year's edition threw a little extra crazy into the mix. On the third lap, the P/1/2 field caught the 4's field (I think) on the Stage Rd descent, causing some mayhem for everyone involved, especially me, as happened to be trying to get back to the front after getting dropped. Yelling "OUTSIDE OUTSIDE INSIDE INSIDE" going 30mph around corners is always fun. I made it back, but we were still interspersed with the 4s field, who were on their finishing lap. The referee ended up neutralizing us up Haskin's Hill to let them finish in peace, which I was totally OK with. Things got a bit more loco descending off Haskin's, as we watched a poor woman stack it hard off the road because our moto told her we were coming past. In his surprise at seeing this woman crash, the moto missed a corner and crashed as well. Two ~40mph crashes within 5 sec? Yeah I'm just gonna keep riding. And what would Pesky be without some light to heavy rear brake lock-up fishtailing? That happened too. Good times. Michael Jasinski of Pistachios succinctly described it as "riding through a vortex."
On the last lap, just as I was preparing myself for the final climb, the race was neutralized in the feed zone with 5k to go due to more crashes on the descent. I have to stop pedaling and then restart basically sprinting then climbing all out? Ugh. Jim put in a good climb for 9th, while I rode in for 15th.
Considering how I was either at the front or chasing back on for most of the race, I can say I'm happy with my form. Excited for BC Superweek in a few weeks time!
Huge kudos to our boss man Matt Adams for winning the Masters 4's race! Col du Pantoll is payin off baby!
It was also cool to see some unfamiliar faces wearing Mike's Bikes kits, I'm stoked the team's successes are encouraging others to get out there and race!