After a close 5th place yesterday at Menlo Park and my first race back in months, Keven and I were both anxious to get back out there. With the Mike's Bikes Element car, we drove down to Fremont this afternoon for the Cat 3 race.
The race was on Dumbarton Circle which some of you may know from the Early Bird Training Criteriums. When we arrived we were a little disappointed to see a small number cars and find only seven riders already registered. However as we unloaded the car and changed more cars showed up. While Keven warmed up on the training, I took mine to the streets and did a little course recon. The course was literally the Early Bird Crit cut in half with two 180s. As we lined up the field size had at least doubled but was still pretty small, although there were some legs at the start. With tons of wind, two 180s, and small fields, all the previous races of the day had blown up so I knew it was important to stay towards the front, get out of the wind, and get into an easy gear in the turns, especially with my serious lack of fitness. There were a few attacks early on but the wind and small field was keeping everything together. With such a small field no one wanted to work at the front. Halfway through the race Keven put in a huge dig and attacked. Not sure if he went at the right time or put in such a giant acceleration no one could get on his wheel, but he got daylight.
Watching him dangle off the front, I knew it was time to give him a hand and went to the front. Although his gap was small, I knew it would be easy to give him a gap and make it stick but with 20 minutes left in the race, I knew he would need some company. I went to the front and slightly adjusted the pace where riders wouldn't be able or want to quickly come around me. In the turns I safely decelerated the pace to a crawl and accelerated out quickly again to keep the field behind me. I chased down any solo riders attempting to bridge but as soon as I saw two strong riders fly past me, I let em go and continued to keep pace for the field.
With two less riders and the slow pace of the chasing field, the gap quickly increased and riders began to drop out of the race as it became clear the break was going to stay away. Dan Vigil of Audi recognized this and went on his attack. I knew the gap was too big for a solo bridge and all the other riders in the field were spent from attacks and chasing.
With five laps to go I meshed into what was left of the field to rest up for the field sprint. I sat third coming into the final turn but after sitting in the wind and with my serious lack of lack of fitness, I only managed 3rd or 4th but what I think is a top 10. After rolling over the line, I found out that Keven sprinted for 2nd in the break and picked up 3 marshmallow peep primes. Soon Keven, soon.
Stoked be back training and racing. Will post pictures as they are posted. Video below of the finish.