This race has been a race that I've been wanting to do for a few years now and I was excited to race it this year and experience an NCC (National Criterium Calendar) race. On top of all of this excitement, the team was all looking to work for me to pull off a good result or possibly the win! With the excitement exceeding high, it was hard to stay calm and think about other things in life that could keep me away from thinking about it. I got to the race with Dana a couple hours before after flying in that morning, got registered, pinned up numbers, warmed up and before we knew it it was time to race!
The weather was a possible factor with it being about 65 degrees and mostly cloudy and rain drops looking to fall down anytime, but there was no rain drops the entirety of the race. The race started out fast which was expected so I let riders use all of their energy to attack and follow moves and by the time about 30 minutes into the race, I knew it was to come down to a field sprint with all of the team that were represented in the race (CashCall, MRI, Optum, and Smartstop). Eric was able to get a few primes throughout the race and about 60 minutes into the race (out of 90 minutes) through I told him to relax and save it for the end (lead out).
Fast forward to 5 laps to go and Daniel and I are locked onto Justin Williams's (MRI) wheel with Eric, Dana and Rainier nearby. I was working with Rainier throughout the race to help him move up in a pack of this caliber and I think he learned some valuable tips for the next race he enters :). Now it's the last lap and Dana was able to get to the front right before the last turn with Daniel and I on his wheel. Eric was a couple riders back but I didn't want to take the chance to wait for him and possibly be taken over by another team so we started our final lead out. Dana took a beast pull for a half of a lap and then Daniel took over just before the 2nd to last turn. Between the 2nd to last and last corner I heard a crash really close to me. I look back and all I see is blue (Ken Hansen). Forget it, it's time to sprint for the finish. I come around the last turn behind Daniel as he starts his sprint to lead me out and I'm in perfect position but I made the mistake of starting my sprint slightly too early and then I had a slight mechanical in my sprint, that once I got it going again, it was too late and the top 3 guys were racing for the win. It was disappointing to have this happen on this level of racing and after I was in perfect position and that I didn't bring it home for the team but it's experiences like these that will help me learn more and get stronger. I ended up hanging on to finished 4th and Daniel finished 5th, Dana 6th, and Eric 8th!
Overall, we really gelled together as a team and successfully did what we wanted to do as a team and that's all that matters. We all learned certain things and we are all happy with how we rode. Personally, I wish a couple things didn't happen but it's part of bike racing and I'm determined for next time! A huge thank you to all of our Sponsors to help us get to where we are and do as well as we did!! I'm looking forward to next year!
Here's a video too from the race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5U-o499o7h4