Pop the Olive Oil! Victory for Williams at Colavita Grand Prix

By: Dana Williams

Event: 2017 Colavita Grand Prix M123 +35

Date: July 16, 2017

Teammates: Chris Hobbs, Matthew Sloan, Oliver Ryan, David Allen

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1087171176

Conditions: Sunny and hot, low 90's F, Wind from the West so cross wind before final turn and slight tailwind on the finishing straight.

The Plan

Be attentive, mark any dangerous moves, stack the break and get me to the final turn for the sprint. 


As it happens with most races, I try to leave the house early enough so I get to the race venue about an hour before the start. This was no different today, except for one main difference. All three of my boys, Hudson (7), Brodie (5) and Ryder (1) were joining me because mom was away for the weekend at a conference. I did have one of our friends join me to watch the kids while I raced. Thankfully I left early enough to make a quick stop at Equator Coffee & Tea for a iced coffee; the caffeine and cold nature of the drink would be well needed today with the 90F+ temperatures and 60 minute criterium. We got to the race with enough time but I still needed to keep moving to get pinned up and a good warm up in. A quick flash the person parked next to me allowed me to slip on my Capo skin suit. I grabbed one frozen water bottle from my cooler, but not the one filled with Gu hydration mix, and rolled away. Pinned up, warm up done, and one frozen water bottle with Gu hydration, I was ready to race. And it was neat to hear my boys saying 'go daddy'.

The gun went off and the pace wasn't too bad for the first lap. I think the majority of riders realized how hot it was and knew that an early attack might burn a well needed 'match' later in the race. But not everybody was thinking this. As I rounded the final turn and about to head up the false flat 250m run to the finish line, Sam Worthington accelerated pretty hard. I was right there and decided to follow him, not wanting to be swarmed by all the other riders and end up at the back. Sam kept going, and going, and going. I soon realized nobody from the field was chasing us and we had a good gap. Then after about 45secs of close to 500W following Sam's rear wheel, he sat up and waved me through. I thought to myself 'ok, why not. Let's keep this going and see who bridges up'. Sure enough a few riders at a time joined us. This break ultimately ended up being nine riders, two being from Team Mike's Bikes p/b Equator Coffee, myself and David Allen. Also of note to me was NorCal strong man Chris 'Sagan' Coble, all-year round strong rider, Mark Howard and coming into strong form as of late, Jason Boyton. 

For the next 50 minutes the break rolled really well. Everybody was doing their fair share of work. This resulted in us getting a good gap from the main field. At one point I looked back and could see a solo rider trying to bridge up. I tried to see if it was a teammate but couldn't tell so kept focused at the task at hand. With about three laps to go, Dave and I had a talk at the back of the field. We agreed he'd take over at the front on the last lap and keep the pace high to hold riders off from attacking. My plan was to attack just before the final turn and try to hold off the field to the finish line.

I believe Jason Boyton put in an attack just after the start/finish line with two laps to go. He was brought back and we were all together waiting for the next move. As the bell rang signifying the last lap, Dave went to the front and kept the pace high. This worked all the way through the 2nd last turn. At this point I believe it was Travis Lee of Folsom Bikes who attacked hard up the left. There was a slight hesitation and a few of us riders looked at each other, but ultimately one rider and Coble started the chase. I hopped on the back and Travis was brought back. I believe he then kept the pace up towards the final turn. The pace was pretty high so I decided to delay my planned attack. As we rounded the final turn and started up the false flat, I could see Coble getting ready to start his sprint. There was a slight hesitation which was my signal to go. I believe Coble also sensed this and we simultaneously moved left, jumped out of our saddles and started sprinting. It ended up being a 25 second sprint, of which I was able to hold off Coble and the rest of the break and cross the finish line first. 

Following some high fives at the finish line and continually being amazed by how much I love my Specialized Venge Vias, we gathered around our Toyota team van for our debrief and to enjoy a few adult sodas.