The Wente Vineyards road race is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a great course and one of the few that has a pure hilltop finish. I was a little unsure of my form at this race. I had been involved in a bad crash at Redlands and had taken two weeks off the bike with a bum hand, but I was excited to come help the team.
Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase started off the race with a flurry of attacks. We were hoping to be well represented in the early break. Midway through the first lap, Dana and I found ourselves in a fairly large break (~12 riders) that quickly gained time. Dana and I rolled through just enough to keep our breakmates happy, but I was honestly hoping another group would be able to roll up to us later in the race.
Fast forward 50 miles and the break has around a 5 minute lead and we’re not coming back. I had actually been feeling fairly strong on the bike, but around 40 miles in I started having serious stomach problems. At one point I though I was going to have to pull over to use the bathroom, but I soldiered on. The only problem was that it was preventing m from eating anything. (I had one set Clif bar for the entire 80mi race).
Coming into one to go, Keith Wong from Lombardi attacked and got a good gap. I started sitting on the break, but the rest of the riders rode cohesively and slowly started to bring down his gap. Despite my stomach problems, I was still feeling strong, so coming to the last 3mi before the climb, Dana put in a good amount of work to finally close the gap to Keith.
Into the final climb we went and I went with the first accelerations. Suddenly, I just ran out of energy. I think this was less to do with fitness and more to do with not having ate in the last 60miles. Regardless, Tyler Brandt seemed to be on a great day. He took it all the way from the bottom of the climb and rolled in for a commanding victory.
Although Dana and I rolled in for 10th and 11th place respectively, we rode the race how we wanted. Sometimes, you’re just up against better riders.