Yesterday was the Cal Aggie Criterium. It is one of the first races of the year on the NCNCA calendar and usually isn't known to have such strong fields since it is January. But this year was different. The result - 60 minutes of hard racing. Teammates Adam Switters and Eric Riggs showed up and we came up with a game plan to make sure we are represented in the breakaways and if nothing gets away, we set up a lead out for me.

The race started fast and the pace continued to speed up every lap, but the wind was a large factor the entire race as there was a headwind finish and various cross winds in between. About 35 minutes into the race, all three of us ended up getting into a breakaway group of about 15 riders but despite Eric and Adam's hard work on the front, we were brought back to the pack a few laps later. I started to sit in more and save up for the finish as it looked more and more to be a field sprint. We all kept communicating with each other; seeing how each other were and where to ride in the pack so that we were all safe from the wind and any kind of danger. We moved forward with 1/2 laps to go and took over the lead just before a couple of tight turns with just 1 kilometer left to go. We took it easy through the turns as no one could move up past us during this stretch and then Eric gave it all he had into the last turn but as we were turning up the gas there was an attack from Alexander Freund (Lombardi) and Chuck Hutcheson (Full Circle Racing). Alexander took 1st position, Eric taking 2nd, then Chuck, Adam, and I respectively. We came out of the last turn and I told  Adam to start to sprint but it ended up being a little bit too strong for me so I sprinted back up to Adam and by the time I caught up with him, it was time for me to sprint but as I got closer and closer to the line, Sam Bassetti (Cal Giant)came up next to me and after a bike throw at the line, it was very close but he beat me by about a 1/2 wheel-length.

Overall, it was a good day as we were able to represent in most of the breakaways and we got some fitness in when we did a lead out at the end. Eric and Adam did a great job following everything and it was a great lead out at the end! Last but certainly not least, I want to thank all of our sponsors for the 2013 season: Mike's Bikes, Incase, Specialized, Sram, Zipp, Capo, Look, Osmo Nutrition, Garmin, City Park, Clif Bar, GoPro, Smith Optics, Bike Smart, and Bar Fly! Looking forward to the rest of the 2013 season!

 

Thanks.

 

--James LaBerge