Day two of the Sierra Historic Omnium is the Nevada City Classic, in it's 54th year, has a rich history with many big name participants including Levi Leipheimer, Floyd Landis, and seven time tour cheat Lance Armstrong.
Being an omnium and having Colin and James go one-two at day one, we wanted to keep them positioned high in the overall. The course in downtown Nevada City jig-jogs up a series of steep punchy blocks of town, and rolls for a couple more, before shooting straight down 40mph through the finish line and into two ninety degree off-camber and left-hand corners that put you back at the base of the climbs. Since the race is ninety minutes long, our plan for the beginning was to let the course be aggressive for us and just make sure we kept all the moves in check. In spite of this LaBerge promptly set a strong tempo that was quickly followed by a few attacks from Daw. The field was stacked with full squads from Marc Pro Strava, Cal Giant, Bear Development, and of course Team Mike's Bikes. Within the first few laps the field lapped a rider and continued to do so with whole groups falling off the lead lap throughout the rest of the race. These riders were allowed to stay on course for the duration of the race. Forty-five minutes into the race, Tim Aiken (Bear Dev) lost his front wheel and went into the hay bails on the high-speed corner leading into the climb.
Roman Kilun and I were caught behind the crash and had a large gap to close to the lead group. Luckily, as our chase made it near the top of the climb, we came around a group of riders, including Reese who spent the previous driving the winning break, that were a lap down and Reese towed us back to the leaders. We suffered for the few laps following while recovering from that effort. Luckily I was having a great day on the bike and was able to continue to contribute by following moves. After an hour, attacks were still flying all over the place and each one seemed promising as the lead group was whittled down to the favorites. I was marking Torey Phillipp (Cal Giant) when he made a decisive attack with ten laps to go. Quickly, teammate Craig Fellers and Chris HD (Marc Pro Strava) made contact with us and Fellers drilled it for a lap to open up our gap. Once he was done he dropped back to the pack. Phillipp was applying some half attack/half pulls on the front which were starting to put the hurt on HD. Around five laps to go, Phillipp's attacks started to gap HD, who was catching back on the descent, while I pulled through steady, confident that our thirty second gap would last for the next few laps.
We remained so until bell lap, when I descended slowly to force Phillipp to ride first wheel into the climb to prevent him from attacking from behind. Starting the climb at a hard pace we gapped HD, though near to the top Phillipp eased the pace and we rode shoulder to shoulder on up to the rollers. I saw HD catching back on and attacking us from behind—out of Phillipp's sight. I jumped on HD's wheel and rode it to the rollers. Phillipp was caught off guard by HD's attack, but was catching up to us, so I went very early and solo for the line. I started from a full sprint, then sat and grinded a big gear, then unnecessarily shifted through my gears before pedaling squares down the hill. It hurt and was farther than I thought, but I won my first P12 race.