Rainier and I lined up at 8 AM, bottles full of OSMO and ready for the 30 mile scorcher that was just starting to unfold in the hills of Livermore. Jason Saltzman representing NCCF/ Team Specialized was also bound to be a major player on this hilly course, which overlapped much of the Wente RR loop. IRT Reactor, Fresh Air Bicycles-Focus and VuMedi also had teams to contend.
With a relatively small field size, attacks started right away with Rainier undeniably being the most aggressive rider in the peloton. After the first lap, the peloton was still together, but racers were feeling the pressure. After a hard attack by Kevin Leong (Fresh Air) that we covered, Rainier and I were left at the front. I sat up and let Rainier roll away and the field was slow to respond. By the time Jason Saltzman went to bridge, a gap had opened and I got a ride across on his wheel, accompanied by Kevin Leong and Cameron Hoffman (Team Endurance 360).
We rotated smoothly until one lap to go, keeping our gap at just under 1 minute. Up the climb with 1 to go, I attacked over the top of the hill and we dropped Kevin Leong. Rainier and I attacked and countered for the next 5 miles, but Cameron and Jason stuck with every move.
With 250m to go Rainier was pacing the front, positioning me for the sprint victory, but a chase group of David Grundman (Team BP/Sierra Nevada) and Andrew Biscardi (VuMedi) connected and Andrew attacked straight through. I jumped to his wheel into the last corner and down the small dip into the final rise—The Bump—to the finish. Using my inertia, I swung out of his draft, shifted down my Sram Red 22 derailleur and sprinted up the hill for the win. Jason followed me and stuck 2nd place, Cameron 3rd, and Rainier 6th.
Thanks to all our sponsors for making this win possible and for the support of my great teammates!