We started the 90 miles race with a pack of 40 or so hoping against rain but prepared for the worst. Most of us had never done the course so were not so sure to expect. Our plan was to be extremely aggressive and stack the break. The general sentiment was that if you wake up at 5am to race you better make the break because we all knew that today the break would go all the way. The first lap was very aggressive with Marc-Pro, VuMedi and other teams launching attacks all over the place (or maybe it just felt that way because I was half asleep despite drinking two cups of delicious Equator Speed Blend Coffee). Towards the end of the lap I found Marcus and myself in a separation of 8 riders. I don't think we were really attacking but once we got some daylight we all put our heads down and got to work. Everyone worked well together and we knew we were in for a 70 mi ride together.
Having been in numerous breakaways this year I have come to really appreciate our Evade helmets which make riding in the wind so much nicer. Things were fairly uneventful until Chis HD of MarcPro crashed on a roller and was not able to rejoin as his bike was broken. After that excitement I spent the next couple hours eating ProBars and drinking OSMO (also reminding Marcus to do the same). As we started the last lap I "threw it in the ditch" with Marcus on my wheel, hoping to split the group in a crosswind. Unfortunately there was not enough wind (there was the lap before) and all I did was make everyone hate me. From there on the group attacked each other incessantly all the way to the finish. It was an all out slug fest as we had over four minutes and no one had reason to take pulls or cooperate. Marcus and I did a great job countering each others moves and keeping the others under control. After a particularly intense flurry, I countered a move by one of the strong guys in the group and got some daylight with about 10 miles to go. Within a km, young Alex Freund (a student at Cal, no less) was coming across the gap. He was looking strong and I was happy to have the help. I knew this was "make or break" time so I went all in just staring at my Garmin and keeping the watts pegged. This was the hilliest portion of the course but we were flying. The chase kept us honest for several miles but by 4km to go we had about a minute. Also at this time Alex was coming unglued and I took up all of the pacemaking. With about 500 meters to go the course tipped up the finish line. This is where I put in one final dig and crossed the line first.
As with all our successes this was a team win and I want to thank Marcus especially for being my lieutenant on the road today. Not only did he help me win but then sprinted for 3rd to round out the podium (Stud!).