images: Alex Chiu
With the bar set high from the team’s win at the Folsom Classic Criterium on Saturday, and a podium sweep at the classic Mount Hamilton Road Race, Garrett, Cam P., Andy and myself set out to make it three for three on the weekend at the Memorial Day Criterium in Morgan Hill.
The start whistle blew, and I rolled off the front for a lap-1 flyer. I checked back a few times to see if anyone would join me or if I’d get pulled back. I got reeled in on the back side of the second lap, a few riders countered with Cam following.
Since the course is essentially a giant circle, with wide open straightaways and no hard turns, most of the breakaways on the day never got fully out of sight. Tobin Ortenblad, last year’s winner, was the guy to beat in the field and was heavily marked. The reluctance of the peloton to let any group bigger than four or five riders get up the road kept the race together.
Within the last 12 laps, Larry Nolan and a rider from SunPower rolled off the front and got a sizeable gap. They were joined later by a Clif Bar rider, but were pulled back with about four laps to go. A four-man break formed in the final few laps that and Andy bridged up to it. Three of them were pulled back, but Matt Schaupp from Echelon-Storck rolled off and rode the last three laps solo. I found Cam, and he helped me stay up near the top five wheels on the second to last lap. Andy got back up to the front to keep the pace high through the cross-tailwind section, and Schaupp was pulled back as the field reached turn one of the with one lap to go.
Herbalife24 p/b MPS had a firm grip on the front of the bunch, with Penaloza, Carling and Bassetti ready to leadout Myers for the last corner. Ortenblad held the inside going around the back stretch and tried to push his way onto Bassetti’s wheel. I sat behind them as they elbowed and head-butted. When Carling accelerated, Ortenblad lost position as Bassetti and Myers followed.
Within 20m to the last corner, Bassetti moved out to give Myers room on the inside but he hesitated, skipping a chain as he tried to close the door on me. I stayed seated and gave it a little gas to get to the corner first. I stood up out of the corner and sprinted to the line. Garrett followed me in for fourth, even after two solid days of crit and traveling including his win on Saturday.