by Cameron Bronstein
University Road Race - P/1/2 - August 21, 2016
Andy, Reese and I hit the road on Saturday evening down to Santa Cruz to spend the night with Craig and TMB Women's teammate Sam Vroomen.
It was nice to make a trip out of our Sunday race and enjoy some late season slumber party bonding - not to mention delicious, Equator Coffee!
We headed out for the race course on our dialed Venge ViAS bikes, as Craig lives just a few miles from the race circuit around the UCSC campus. I had targeted University as a late-season goal. I've had a solid history of results on this course in my two years of racing - most recently starting the 2016 season with TMB getting the victory in the Open Category race at the UCSC Collegiate Road Race (same course).
However, the competition was ramped way up with Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling), Gavin Mannion (Drapac), Tyler Williams (Axeon Hagens-Berman), Sean Bennett (fresh off a Euro campaign with USA U-23s and riding very fast) and several Team Illuminate Pros.
The race was full of attacks from the get-go. I was thankful to have Craig and Aria covering some of the bigger attacks earlier on. About an hour in, the conclusive break was established when Gavin attacked and I surfed wheels behind Evan, Sean, and an Illuminate rider. Soon after, another Illuminate rider bridged, allowing one to sit on as the rest of us rotated around smoothly.
I enjoyed the experience of suffering with some top-level domestic pros. It felt good using my knowledge from previous races (not to mention from watching world tour racing), attacking the group in the harder moments and seeing the Illuminate guys implode.
In the final, Evan and Gavin were too strong and distanced themselves from Sean and myself through the feed zone on the final lap. Sean and I then cat-and-moused on the descent and I managed to pull away over the last pitch for third. I had been hoping for the win, but third behind the 2016 ToC Polka Dot Jersey winner and another beast of the pro was an amazing consolation!
It was a fun race and I was thankful to have my friends and teammates supporting me during the race, and showing me a fun time in Santa Cruz later in the day. AND I got a size small Velo Promo T-Shirt!