After racing a hard-fought Mike's bikes Cat's Hill the day before, Team Mike's Bikes P/B Equator Coffee & Teas were ready for action again at the Dana Point Grand Prix, a race of the National Criterium Calendar. Travis and team mechanic Caesar bravely drove through the night to deliver our Specialized Venges to Dana Point safely so that Roman, Dana, and I could fly the next morning. Once we were all together, we ate lunch in beautiful southern California sunshine, and were ready to put on our super-fast Capo Super Corsa kits and Specialized S-Works shoes. With Osmo in our bottles and Probar in our pockets, we were ready to go!
The general plan was to be conservative as we knew United Health Care (UHC) was competing, as well as another five or so teams that were well represented within the hundred-plus sized field. The race started off pretty quick, as you would expect from such a stacked field. Breakaways formed throughout the race, but none for long. Coming into the final twenty minutes, it was time to get into field sprint mode.
However, shortly thereafter, a late breakaway got a decent gap - it included Speedweek Monster and former teammate, Daniel Holloway. UHC spent several laps bringing them back. With two laps to go, it was all together, and TMB began to fight for position amongst the other teams. We got up to the hip of UHC's sprinter Luke Keough, but Daniel slid in right behind, causing us to slide back a couple spots. After a small miss-communication, I had to leave my lead-out man, Dana, to maintain my position. I was on my own at one lap to go! Sitting at about tenth position, I knew I had to move up. After the second corner, I moved up about five spots on the inside, and landed just behind Daniel who was still on the UHC train. I was right where I wanted to be, just wishing I had my lead-out man. Coming into the second to last corner, a couple KHS/Maxxis riders came on the inside of me, causing me to slow down. This momentary hiccup was all they needed to take my spot in line, so I was pushed back a couple spots. I went around the last two corners and stayed in the same position to finish eighth overall.
Overall, it was a great experience to be able to race against some of the best in the country and it felt great to know that I was on the winner's wheel coming into two turns to go. I would like to thank my teammates—Roman Kilun, Travis Lyons and Dana Williams—for their hard effort to keep me in position! Also a big shout out to all of our sponsors for making this happen! Thanks for reading!