After a hard race in Buellton and driving to Hanford that night, I was tired and just wanted to sleep. I slept in until 8:30 or so and went down for some breakfast in the lobby at the hotel that my dad, Chris (brother) and I stayed in. After a good hour using the blow dryer drying out all of my soaking wet clothes from the day before, I got all packed up and headed out to the course that happened to be just 2 blocks away. Before I knew it, it was time to get suited up and ready to race! When online registration closed days before the race, no one was signed up! It was quite literally just my dad and I! My dad spotted some guys and by the time we came up to the start line there was about 25 riders or so including Rand Miller (California Giant/ Specialized) and Dave McCook (McGuire). Luckily Rainier came down for the day and we both knew it was bound for a break due to the such windy conditions. And that's exactly what happened. 2 laps into the race a group of 6 got off the front including Rand, my dad (Dean), Dave, Vincent Owens, and a Safeway rider and myself. After a few laps, Dave popped and about 10 laps later, the Safeway rider got popped. As we were almost about to lap the field, Rand put in a hard attack and Owens followed it. By this time, we also had some lapped riders and I attacked out of the group to bridge it. My dad and I made it across and I kept watching Rand and Vincent the entire time. About halfway through the race, Rand attacked on the left side of the road when I was stuck on the right side behind some of Vincent's teammates. Rainier was up the road trying to lap the field but couldn't make it across. Rand was gone for good after that. He caught Rainier's group and Rainier sat in behind Rand's wheel, making him earn his win and keep me and Vincent Owens away. Owens and I rolled off the front, trying to bridge across but the distance was too much. I eventually got popped from Owens at 12 laps to go and he stayed away, but in the last 10 laps, he used a couple of his lapped teammates try to catch Rand's group and he got moved down to 3rd by the officials at the end of the race. I finished solo, about 1/2 a lap behind Rand's group, but still placing 2nd!

Wish I hadn't made that mistake halfway through the race, but the sport is the matter of split second decisions. Rand made the right one today. Lesson learned!

-James