Central Coast Circuit Race Series: Fort Ord Circuit Race
June 12, 2016
By Rob Amatelli
I love the CCCX Fort Ord race course. The course is closed and features awesome power rollers, false flats, a fast descent, and wind. It's a perfect course for a rouleur like myself. When the competition is good it makes for a fun race. Mike's Bikes showed up with captain David Allen, Josh Pizzica, Matty Sloan, Dan Vigil, and me Robo. The pre-registration numbers were low so we were pleasantly surprised to see a lot of day-of registrations from a strong Peete's Coffe Racing squad, including World Champion Dan Martin and newly crowned U.S. National Road Champion Nick Theobald. We had a race on our hands!
From the start MIke's put the pressure on, first sending Matty out on the attack and then David. There was some pretty good action during the first couple of laps and my power meter was reflecting that. As we all came back together after David was reeled in Tim Granshaw from Craft Factory Cycling attacked and the field let him go then slowed up a bit. He had a nice little gap going into the big rollers at the start/finish and I wanted to bridge up to see if I could draw out a couple of guys and get a break going. I waited until we hit the false flat over the top and stayed hard on the gas. I looked behind and saw I had two riders with me, Nick from Peete's and Chris Cain from Don Chapin, and we had a gap. I felt good so I stayed on the front and closed down the gap to Tim myself after about two minutes of hard riding. When we got to him our gap was still pretty good. The two strongest teams were represented so I knew we had a good chance at staying away.
The four of us rotated and worked well together. No one skipped pulls and it was actually pretty easy. Too easy for my liking. When we saw '3 to go' then '2 to go' and we couldn't see the field I knew the winner was going to be one of us. I started thinking about how I was going to beat these guys. Chris is a really good sprinter and Nick is wearing Stars n' Stripes ('nuff said). Tim was kind of a wild card. He didn't look like he was struggling either. Chris was riding really smart and taking softer pulls and Nick is really very crafty.
I came up with a plan. I took a strong pull through the cross winds at the bottom of the descent and pulled all the way through to the turn into the tailwind section and swung off. Now Nick was on the front, but I wanted to wait for Chris to be on the front before I attacked. After Nick pulled off the front I waited for Chris to start working a bit before spinning up the gears and attacking with everything I had. We had a little over 1 lap to go and I didn't know what would happen but my main goal was to put pressure on everyone and see who would respond. Turns out Nick was just off my wheel and Chris was in his. I think maybe that discouraged him from closing the gap. Whatever the reason the three of them eased up and I was all-in. I got a big gap right away and that felt good. I settled in, watched my heart rate, and rode at threshold intensity. The watts were good. I felt good. I rolled through the start/finish with 1 to go and knew I had it.
I rode hard all the way to the finish where I could finally post up to celebrate a strong ride and a rare win. Yay!
I gotta say I love being on such a great team. Without my teammates there is no way the break goes or stays away. Thanks guys!