Stage racing is hard. Anything that is not immediately necessary gets put on the back-burner, so I am writing the race report for Stage 1 on the night of Stage 3. The first stage, which now seems ages ago, was the Highland Circuit Race. Highland is a 20 lap circuit race with a short steep climb leading into the finish and a fast decent, like an over-sized crit, through a neighborhood. Team Mike's Bikes p/b Equator came to the Redlands Bicycle Classic with one goal in mind: to make an impact everyday, to do something good everyday. On stage one we had a good feeling that the final sprint would suit Adam and Chris.
On the first lap, the race started off with a heinously hard "neutral" up the climb. A few laps in, true to form, Nate found the front and went in the early break. He was soon joined by two riders, and they would spend the next two laps off the front. After the trio were reeled-in, the counter went and established the break of the day: a solo Cal Giant rider who did a fantastic job holding off the field until 1 lap to go. The race was otherwise uneventful so the TMB boys stayed out of the wind and hydrated with OSMO hand-ups from mechanic-extraordinaire, Caesar. Coming into the final laps the gap to the break was still over a minute so we could tell the race was about to get fast. Adam did a great job putting Nate and Chris in position to respond to the accelaration. On the final lap the hill and crosswinds cut down the field and the sprint was on. When the dust settled, we were excited to learn that Chris had sprinted to a respectable top 20 and had captured the best amateur jersey. There was much excitement and celebrating of Team Mike's Bikes first ever jersey in an NRC event.