“WE HAVE A FEW MIKE'S BIKES RIDERS IN THE GROUP TODAY!!!”, the announcer’s voice came booming over the PA system as well rolled to the line for the Elite 4 start. And we certainly did. Team racers Daniel Velasco and I were joined by Jason MartelDye (a genuine Mike's Bikes employee from the Sacramento store) for the 38th edition of one of the most celebrated and toughest Crits in Northern California. If you managed to make it out this year, then you know what a party it is. If you have yet to experience it, COME OUT NEXT YEAR!!
Going over a bit of pre-race strategy (alone on the trainer in front of the Los Gatos Mike's location, mind you) I knew that a fast start was important for this race. Having done this race before, I knew that moving up on this course was an energy-expensive proposition, and I saw no reason to spend where I didn't need to. Danny and I jumped off the line with Jason in tow and settled into a good rhythm for the first few laps.
Yours truly, paying some attention to the pointy end of things.
While a few riders attempted to jump away from the group, most were content to simply survive until the last few laps and see how things would play out. With 2 to go, the pace picked up (or at least the effort required to maintain the pace did) and the group began to really stretch out on the hill. On the last lap, with legs on FIRE, I caught a glimpse of Danny moving away from the group HARD.
Danny leading the group up the climb, last lap. He wouldn't give that lead up.
Not only did he lead over the climb and get a bit of day-light, but his second push over the roller at the top of the course established a gap that no one would cross. As we bombed the descent onto the start finish straight, I could just catch a glimpse of Danny as he accelerated for the win. WHAT A BOSS!!
While my finish was much less awe inspiring, I love this race!! See you next year!
Pay attention, class, this is how it's DONE!! (Big thanks to Allan from www.focusoncycling.com for this photo!!)
Congrats to Daniel Velasco on an epic win at an epic race!