words: Travis Lyons | images: Alex Chiu
To say, “This year’s Suisun Harbor criterium was hot,” would be an understatement. With many of the day’s participants still suffering from smoke-filled lungs of the previous day’s Dunnigan Hills RR, Suisun would essentially be the nail in the coffin. The forecast was for triple-digit temperatures from start to finish of our race, and it was apparent that the day’s podium would be of those who were best able to hydrate and conserve their energy. I was sure to get my OSMO Preload Hydration serving in the night before to get a head start on keeping my body topped off on electrolytes and fluids.
Roman, Aria, Craig, Andy and myself represented TMB/Equator, along with recently upgraded TMB Dev Team rider, Jimmy Pham. Craig and Roman had both raced the day before, and were ready to do battle with a strong Herbalife/MPS squad.
The whistle blew to start the seventy-minute race, and straight away, Chuck Hutcheson of Herbalife put in a dig and led the field around the flat, three block, rectangular course. Wind wasn’t a major factor on course as it has been in the past, but our Specialized S-Works Evade aero helmets still did their job to help us conserve and keep our heads cool. The boys stayed attentive at the front of the field, covering every move we could. Simply having all five of us occupying the first fifteen wheels made it seem as if we were racing with greater numbers.
With about fifteen laps remaining, a small group including Roman got off with an advantage of about twenty seconds. The field had really dwindled down, and riders were clearly experiencing huge affects of the extreme heat as they started to throw in the towel. Herbalife began to organize their leadout, and took the front with four laps to go. Craig and Andy kept me in position at the head of the field and helped me conserve going into the final laps.
Going into one lap to go, Rob Evans made a move up to the tail end of the Herbalife train, separating Andy and I from Willy Myers (Herbalife). Coming out of turn two, I got a glimpse around Andy and saw that Rob had let a gap open in front of him, putting Willy about 4 bike lengths in front of us. Andy got around Rob before the third corner, and I began my sprint as we approached the last corner. Roman had just been caught by the Herbalife train and began sprinting out of the last corner. I looked up with about 100m to the line, and Willy had already launched off his final leadout man, Josh Carling, and was nearing the line. I gave it my best, and was able to get past Carling for a 2nd place finish.