By Daniel Holloway It had been some time since I last raced Berkeley Hills. I don’t recall much about my last experience, but I’m sure I didn't finish. Our team tactic was simple and one we have been using as of late. For now I will keep it a secret as it seems to be working. The race started at and nice early 7:30 AM and the weather was surprisingly warm. It was clear hydration was going to be key – the more Osmo we could get, the better.
Once we made the turn on to San Pablo Dam (SPD) road we started to launch our attacks, and then covering anything that went across. Nothing really got established on the first lap.
The second time down SPD Switters launched and got a solid gap with another rider. Third time around the race got aggressive again and Shawn and I found ourselves in a group of ten or so. As we get to the bottom of the climbs Shawn says he isn't feeling great, I asked for some food and he filled my pockets. Rather than destroying himself to stay in the break he went back to the field to tell the rest of the guys we needed to reset the break away.
A half lap later Roman and Steve made it up to the group, savior arrives. I had a quick chat with Roman about how we should ride, I was feeling really good and felt I could get the job done in the right circumstances. Roman and Steve rolled through with the rest of the breakaway while I sat at the back playing poker, only pulling through when I had to, not to disrupt the rhythm.
On the last lap and a half roughly 6 riders had come across from the field. In some ways not ideal, in some ways it was good for us. It meant more guys to use to hide and more guys to chase any attacks. But it was bad because a team gained more firepower and also there was more riders to attack and us possibly chase our moves.
The last time across SPD the attacks started to go. Roman and Steve followed everything or brought it all back together. Mooney attacked a small roller and got a gap, as we turned to the climbs the gap was going out and a rider from Strava bridged across. I had to play in patient as I only had one really big effort. Kirk and Costa set the pace up the first climb. As we reached the part where it flattens off, it was only four of us. Kirk, Rossi, Costa and myself.
Now was the time for me to go if I was going to make it across, an all out effort up the last bit of the first climb into the short down hill to recover and the up the small roller before the decent into the final climb. I made it to Mooney and the Strava rider right before the decent, as we hit the flat part before the last climb the Strava rider attacked. Mooney didn't want to work so I had to ride within myself hoping the gap didn't go out too much. As we made it up the climb I put in a couple surges to see if Mooney was bluffing or not. I could see the Strava rider start to struggle as the climb got a little bit steeper to the finish line. With 150meters to go I launched with what I had left in the tank and got the Win for TMB-INCASE clique.
Today, saving energy was crucial. And I was able to do so thanks to my teammates, Specialized Venge and Zipp Firecrest 404s. The sun was out right from the beginning, having the Zealous sunscreen was key too along with having OSMO nutrition to stay hydrated before during and after was crucial to the team’s performance.