My first race of the season, and my third in the P12 field could not have started better as the inclement weather tapered off and sunshine showed on Landpark Criterium in Sacramento.   I love Landpark!  It is essentially an oval shape, with the start/finish at one end of a straightaway, and two tight chicanes pressed together at the other end of the oval.

Thank you for the photographs Jim Elder.

As soon as the whistle blew, breaks commenced, one of which early on contained my teammate Nole Studley.   I watched closely in order to do my best to keep him out there but his break was shortly brought back.  I made sure to get into the next move, and when I was there I realized it wouldn’t be one to stick as it was lacking key racers from the largest team presence in the race, Clif Bar.  As such, we were quickly brought back.  My teammate Ben Stern was up there in the mix.  An attack here and an attack there and a couple laps thereafter, I found myself sliding away in a small group that chased a prime prize.  Maybe nine of us?  We pushed hard, although not exactly smoothly, and built up what one spectator said was a thirty five second lead on the peloton for the majority of the race.   However, some riders would not pull through at the front and others chased primes hard, causing our group to splinter and regroup, hurting our chances of successfully staying away.  To boot, there were two racers from the same team, Webcor, that were working well for each other and not for the longevity our little group.  That being said, it was a sprint for a prime with three laps to go that was the winning move for one of the Webcor riders.  Webcor race was blocking for his teammate ten seconds ahead and our little group could not pull it together to draw him and one other racer back.  My last ditch effort came out of the chicane, sitting third wheel the two ahead of me swung hard right and I attacked hard left to attempt a solo bridge to the two leaders.  My efforts were nullified when the small group latched onto my wheel five hundred meters later.  In that lap the peloton retrieved us and I had a couple laps to move around and get ready for a bunch sprint for what seemed like third place.  On the last lap, coming out of the first chicane I was second wheel and moving into the second and final chicane I was maybe sixth wheel.   The sprint for the finish was long and dodgy, I knocked fists and bumped hips, but managed to hold onto tenth overall.  Glad to be back!

-Rainier