By Matt Adams
Pescadero Coastal Classic RR - 35+ 1/2/3
Saturday, June 7, 2014
"Spectacular 28-mile loop through coastal dunes and redwood groves consisting of Stage Rd., Hwy. 84 and Pescadero Rd. 1500' of climbing per lap including the epic Haskins Hill."
2012: 35+ 4 (1st)
2013: 35+ 1/2/3 (1st)
Typical Coastal Day. Foggy and chilly early and warming throughout the race
Bromstead, Berkman, Funke
Keep small breaks at a manageable distance or get myself into the strong break that would stay away. Beat everyone to the top of Haskins.
With this race being a premier series race this year, the field was much deeper than last year. Cottell and Theobald were both there, as well as Josh Dapice, a bunch of strong Folsom riders (Lyman, Metcalf, Jesse Moore, etc.), Cameron Birky, Andres Gil, and the list goes on. After a quick and chilly warmup with Scott B, we rolled to the start right before the gun. I decided to start the race with my Capo vest and arm warmers and shed them as the race warmed up. The neutral roll out was uneventful and I tried to identify all the strong guys. All the Folsom and Specialized guys look the same and I was trying to match names with identifying features - Cottell wore white socks, Roemer wore Black. In this field, "he's the guy with the stars and stripes on his sleeves" doesn't help too much. To spice things up, this race features a sprint prime before the first hill. You have to be attentive because it can cause a break. On the first lap, Ben Albrecht (Art's Cyclery) and a Safeway guy went for it and got a gap. Nobody reacted too much and we hit the Stage Rd climbs. Specialized would send one of their guys to the front to set the pace and it was manageable. There were always a few accelerations over the top as guys wanted a good position for the descent. The first time out 84, there were a few attacks but nothing stuck. At one point a larger group got off the front with Funke in it (this break may have been after Haskins). We hit Haskins and again the pace was manageable. I went over the top about 10th wheel and the descent was uneventful except for the fact that I got gapped and had to do a little more work than I wanted at the bottom. More attacks and responses came with Lyman and Theobald eventually getting off the front. I wasn't too concerned because there was still a lot of racing ahead of us. They probably got a minute on the group and Specialized and us spent most of the time on the front keeping the pace up.
On second lap, same drill over the Stage Rd climbs with us and Specialized doing most of the pace making. After we turned onto 84, Funke and Bromstead went to the front and starting increasing the pace. Folsom was sitting right on them. There was still a lot of racing left and if those two were going to stay away, it would be for a lap and a half with two times up Haskins. And there were lots of people who would chase. Worst case, if they are still away heading into the final climb, Jeromy will try to bridge and I'll try to follow. I went up and told Scott and Funke to chill out a bit, let Specialized do some work. And they did. Roemer and Rob Anderson (I think) did some strong riding and we hit Haskins for the second time. A guy in a white "Endurance" kit attacked and several of us chased up the hill. We caught him and I was sitting about 5th wheel when Cottell put in a massive attack with about 1K to the top. I got on his wheel and stuck there. We came out of the trees and we had a small gap on the rest of the climbers. We went over the top and I told him we had a gap and let's do it. He told me these were his home roads and to let him descent first. I this point, I was pretty stoked. No one else could hold his wheel and he was going to bridge me up to Theobald and Lyman. The four of us certainly would have had a good shot at staying away since the four strongest teams were represented. As we descended, I pooped a little because I was gapped the last time, these were his home roads, and he's so strong that closing that gap at the bottom could be impossible. But we rolled up some lower category riders and I was able to hold his wheel... until he made a pass in a corner that I was unwilling or unable to do and boom, he had a gap. We hit the bottom and he about 5 sec on me but right ahead of him was the break and they were sitting up. I caught them as a guys behind me starting catching me and we were all back together. And then Folsom did their thing - attack, counter, counter again. Bromstead was there and helped mark some guys. I was watching who would attack and who would chase, waiting for the right combo. Eventually, Jesse Moore attacked and Kyle Glerum (Safeway) went with him. No one chased and I was content with the situation. There was still a long way to go and most of the strongest guys were still in the field. Bromstead did some furious pulls as did Funke. And the break never got more than 15 sec up the road. As we rolled into Pescadero, Funke said he was toast and probably wouldn't make it over the Stage Rd climbs so he went to the front and kept the pace high and the break in sight. I looked around and all four TMBEquator guys were still there - awesome!
We started the last lap and Cottell was actually on the front and we traded a couple pulls. I told him if wanted to make the bridge, I'd help. He said we should just ride tempo and let the two guys dangle. So we settled in with the break still about 15 sec up the road. Almost immediately after we made the right turn onto Stage Rd., we came upon a crashed rider being tended to by the medics. He was in the middle of the road with only 4-5 ft of room on the left with which to pass. Our moto came to the front and slowed us almost to a stop, then finally waved us through slowly. I heard someone yell that there was a break up the road but the moto didn't hear or didn't care. At the bottom of the first climb, I saw the two-man break up towards the top of the climb and looked at my Garmin. I checked again when we got to that same spot and the gap had grown to about 60 sec. But there was still a lot of race left so I didn't really worry about it. I set the pace most of the way up the 1st bump, mostly to keep the pace up, prevent attacks, and not get caught too far back on the descent. At Bromstead's request, I eased up a bit for the second climb and then we hit 84. Bromstead immediately came to front and hit the "Donkey Mode" button. And then Jacob slotted in behind him and the two of them traded pulls the entire way out 84. At one point, Scott said he was done, only to charge back to the front 30 sec later for more beastly pull. He peeled off and Jacob did a superhuman effort all the way to the feed zone at the bottom of the Haskins.
Theobald and another Safeway rider sat right behind Scott and Jacob the whole way out 84, presumable looking for an attack to follow since I don't think they were confident in Glerum's (in the break) climbing. I was right behind them and didn't know who was still in the group. I wanted to fade back and try to rally some help for the boys but didn't want to be too far back and miss an attack. And at this point the nerves set in. Here were these two guys slaying themselves, losing their opportunities for a strong finish, so I could go for it. I didn't want to let them down and my main motivation was to honor their work.
We started up Haskins and my plan was to follow the strongest wheels and see what would happen. I didn't want to be too close to the front and risk being surprised so I moved up to about 5th wheel. Peter Vaughn did some work and then the same Endurance guy attacked again. I think there about 5 of us that chased and held his wheel and then he faded. About 1 K to go we saw Glerum up the road and the pace picked up. And then it was a repeat of last year. Metcalf went and faded, then Cottell went and faded. We passed Glerum with about 500 m to go and Cameron Birky launched as we emerged from the trees. I saw Jesse wobbling back and forth up the road and did everything I could to stay with Cameron. I came around him with wobbly legs and heard him yell "shit". That's when I knew I had it. Jesse rolled over the line about 10 sec ahead and I crossed for 2nd. I was stoked! The boys laid it on the line for me and it wasn't for nothing. In a lot of ways, this 2nd place was more rewarding than winning last year. Funke, Bromstead, and Jacob, thanks again! You each have $11 coming your way!