Panoche Pass: 1) climb with tailwind 2) descend with tailwind 3) crosswind 4) climb and descend 5) turn around 6) climb and descend 7) crosswind 8) climb with headwind 9) descend with headwind 10) flat finish
Second place finisher Nate English started attacking viciously as soon as we started the climb. After his first attack my thoughts were, "Why am I in this race?!" There was no way I was going to attempt to get into a break with 65 miles, the entirety of the race, to go. Fortunately after a few such moves the group shut down and he and five others, including my teammate Steve O'Mara, got a big lead. After the descent they were basically out of sight. We lost a couple people while in echelon in the crosswind section. A Webcor rider came out of the breakaway so those dudes began to drive a chase. Steve came back to the group. The second time through the crosswind, our group drove hard into the wind in echelon, I heard someone say our average was 28 mi/hr. That sounded fast so I remembered it.. The group was drilling it! The wind made it hard pretty much wherever you were, we lost a couple more people. A Webcor rider and Robert Amatelli (how is this guy not on a team?!) were dumping everything into the chase in the headwind climb, hats off to them. Feeling guilty, I took a few pulls in the wind but felt silly pulling everyone along, seems how I wasn't even sure I would be able to finish the race, so I dropped back into the group. I started cramping going over the last portions of the climb. The original break stayed away. Our chase group sprinted for fourth place and I was beat by four. 8th place.