After a nice morning spin around Pt. Richmond and some episodes of How I Met Your Mother to get psyched, I gingerly loaded my Tarmac SL4 and Zipp 404s into my car and hit the gas to the Cherry Pie Criterium, the first race of 2012 for Team Mikes Bikes. Cherry Pie is the perennial season opener for the NCNCA peloton, and it's been a staple on my race calendar for may years. I've had my ups and downs at this race, but coming off an incredible team camp last weekend, I was confident that this would be one of my best season openers yet.
Our basic plan was to have Piasta, Tyler B, Shawn, Wingert, and Laberge all doing work covering moves throughout the race, while myself and Dana saved energy in the field waiting for the sprint. Unlike years past, the field was lacking some of Norcal's heavy hitters. Even so, Cal Giant, Webcor, and Wonderful Pistachios all had a good amount of guys; plenty of strong dudes to keep the race interesting. The race started without too much fanfare, and my first-race-of-the-year jitters quickly disappeared as I found my way up to the front of the race. For the most part, the race itself was fairly steady. I stayed in the top 20 most of the day, while Tyler, Jim, Piasta, and James all did great work covering breakaway moves. Nothing was getting anywhere off the front though, and with 5 laps to go, after a brief crash-induced neutralization, TMB rallied to the front of the race to set up a leadout for me and Dana. The team entire team did absolutely brilliant work to get me to the line, but unfortunately I jumped a bit too early and Sam Bassetti (Cal Giant) pipped me by a wheel at the finish. Even so, the team took 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in our first race of the season. If that's not a sign of things to come, I don't know what is.
Overall, this was a hugely successful day for Team Mike's Bikes. Every rider on the team did exactly what the team set out to do. Truthfully I've never been in a race situation with so many strong guys as teammates. It was a really awesome feeling.
P.S. Possibly the best part of the race was watching guys duking it out on the run in to the line on a prime lap, then seeing Wingert completely smoke everyone up the hill to take the $50. The Viper strikes! First of many, Jim. Also, special thanks to Piasta who really worked his ass off to keep me and Dana at the front in the closing laps.
And almost forgot: F Yeah Taylor Cody, taking the W in the Cat 4 Race! And Travis Lyons taking an awesome 4th in the 3s! So, first team race and five podiums?
Yeah, It's Like That.
Again, awesome riding everyone, TMB is stepping up big time in 2012! See you next time.