UC Berkeley Crit/Lap-a-thon

DATE - Sunday, March 16, 2014

AUTHOR -  Dana Williams

COURSE DESCRIPTION - Rectangle city block. Start/finish section is 150 meters and approx 6-7% ascent. Back stretch is same distance with 6-7% descent. Route pavement and a few good pot holes at the bottom of the course between turn 3 and 4.

TEAMMATES - Walton Brush, Roman Kilun, Reese Levine and myself of the Elite team. John Funke, John Barbicas and Scott Cox of the Masters team.

GOALS - Team – Be attentive and make sure we are represented in any strong breaks. Roman and Walton showed up from racing Bariani RR earlier in the day so that added some more firepower. Personal goals - First and foremost it was to help the team win. I also had in the back of my mind that it would be a good challenge to somehow lap the field with other riders. My dad was visiting from the East Coast of Canada so I wanted to give him a good show. Plus he brought my two boys so I wanted to get them excited.

RACE SUMMARY - I sensed this race was going to get off to a fast start and it wasn't going to be easy. This is because of the challenging nature of this course, reports from team members from previous years and some 'eager anticipation' by some competitors I read on Facebook. In addition, when I asked a teammate how he felt he said he was 'going to go ballistic'. Alright, game on! Let's go have some fun.

The starter's pistol went 'bang' and we were off; 60 minutes of bike racing had begun. And as I recall, the first attack happened as the field went by the start/finish line for the first time. Go figure. I was at the front and let things stretch out a bit. The attacking continued for a few laps, typically on the same uphill section. I recall three or four guys being pretty active and looking to stretch their (and others) legs; Aerial Herman and Chris H Dunaway of MarcPro-Strava, Taylor Cody of Vumedi and my teammate Roman Kilun.  I'd say around lap 10, Roman put in an attack and there was a slight hesitation in the field. He got a little space and I decided to react. I caught him just as we went around turn one. I looked back and we had a gap. Now was the time to hit it. We both sensed this and got to work. We were doing laps in under a minute so we went around and around and around.... The gap to the field was between 15 - 20 seconds for a while. Then I heard somebody say 13 second. Ah oh, I was working hard and at that moment thought we were going to get brought back. Roman spoke up and said we should just set a good tempo up the start/finish uphill stretch, but then hit it pretty good across the top into the headwind between turn 1 and 2. This way we could carry some good speed on the downhill section between turn 2 and 3. His experience paid off. I soon heard we had 20 seconds. This was good. We were working well together and kept the pace high. 

Next we saw the back of the field. We became like a hungry pack of wolves on the trail of an injured deer. Roman said 'let's not hang out here too long and catch that.' So that's what we did. It certainly was a good feeling when we made contact with the field. As I recall, Roman actually made a solid fist pump when we made the bridge. We then moved through the diminished field in order to let our teammates know we were there. 

Roman leading it out

It felt like we had done 50 laps by now. I think Roman did too because he soon asked the official how much time we had left. There reply was "30 more minutes". Oh boy, another 40 of so laps to go. Next to attack was Aerial Herman. He stayed away for at least 10 minutes, with Roman and Reese at the front of the field keeping him at bay. He was soon back in the pack. Chris and Aerial put in a few more attacks and I was happy to be feeling good and able mark these. But then somebody many of us didn't know, Kyle Murphy, put in a very strong attack with about 8 laps to go. He ended up stretching his gap out until we couldn't see him with about three laps to go. The focus now was to get Walton to the line before anybody else. I got to his wheel on the last lap. I decided to hang there and as we rounded the final corner I let a little gap open. It was enough for him to get the field sprint for fourth. I was able to roll over the line comfortably and raise my arm for my first win of the season. 

Roman ended up having a rear wheel mechanical issue but held onto third. His body was also feeling the effects of 100 miles of racing he had done that day. A solid effort! 

Dana and Roman on the "podium"


1st: me

3rd: Roman Kilun

4th: Walton Brush

8th: Reese Levine

15th: Scott Cox