words: Travis Lyons images: Alex Chiu
The San Rafael Sunset Criterium was the perfect opener for the much more highly regarded and prestigious Berkeley Bike Club/RedKite Omnium criterium in Albany the following day. TMB/Equator had a strong showing with Chris Riekert, Craig Fellers, Garrett Hankins and myself all ready to do battle with powerful squads from CLIF Bar, VuMedi, SquadraSF.
Attacks and splits in the field were the norm from start to finish, most happening on the short one block up-hill leg of the course. Wind played a reasonable factor throughout the race, causing a cross-headwind between the second to last and final corners. The finishing straight was slightly downhill, but had a stiff headwind as well.
With about ten laps remaining, a good selection contained all four of us TMB racers and about 7 other riders. But within a few laps, our small 15 second advantage deteriorated and a few final solo attacks flew around the course without any success. Coming into the final lap, TMB organized with Chris, Craig and Garrett on the front in the mix with a few CLIF riders, Bryan Larsen of VuMedi and Randy Bramblet of CoreTechs Elite all ready to give it a go in the final. I was a few wheels back behind Garrett, and was planning on making a move before the second to last corner up to Garrett to sweep his wheel in the finish.
Between the third and second to final corners, Larsen put in a huge dig and took off before heading for the final corner. I saw him preparing for his move, and slung myself into the gutter to follow his wheel. We railed through the final corner, and Bryan took a quick glimpse under his right arm to check for a gap. With about 150m left between us at the line, I made a surge to come around him on the right out of the wind. I gave my best bike throw, and was able to pip Larsen for the win by the width of a wheel.