images: Dean Warren & Yvonne Lydick
After a relaxing Saturday of cafe rides, city site-seeing, and hotel lounging, we awoke on Sunday morning to the sounds of a good old fashioned Southern rainstorm and knew that today’s criterium would take on a very different dynamic.
I'd already raced a criterium in a downpour once this year at Santa Cruz and, thanks to our amazing S-Works Turbo tires, had no problems with cornering in the rain. I was focused on picking gentle lines, and not getting taken down by other riders. My role, put succinctly, was to “sit in and sprint,” while Cam, Aria, and Chris animated the bulk of the race, saving Roman and Reese to help me in the final laps.
The course was on the longer side, over two kilometers, so I was surprised to see twenty laps to go after only fifteen minutes of racing. As expected, the race was punctuated by several large crashes which I thankfully avoided by riding in the top thirty positions for most of the race. Chris, Roman, Cam and Aria did great work covering moves throughout the day. With three laps to go, Roman took over the front with me on his wheel. I was a bit worried that we would run out of steam so far out, but Reese rolled up to the front right on cue and put in a massive pull to keep things lined out and safe. And again, with perfect timing, at one to go Chris appeared in front of me to take me to the final corner. A Finish Strong rider jumped into the final corner at 300m to go. I hopped on his wheel, hoping to make my move at 200m as he began to tire. Unfortunately, Holloway and the second place rider came around both of us early, and I wasn’t quite able get past the Finish Strong rider, and missed the podium by a bike throw.
Huge thanks goes out to all the guys on the team out here, this week has been a blast and I’m psyched to finish out the NorCal season as strong as ever. Thanks to Matt Adams and Mike’s Bikes for supporting us, and all of our sponsors who provide us with the best possible equipment to hit the finish line first. And a special thanks to my coach Ryan Moore and Achieve PTC for keeping me in shape and motivated to perform my best.