April 15, 2016
Teammates: Matt Adams, Scott Cox & Rob Amatelli
Plan: Strong representation in any breaks and win.
One of the perks of racing on Team Mike's Bikes p/b Equator Coffee is we can request to use any one of the fleet of company Toyota vehicles. Luck was on my side and I was granted the use of a beautiful Toyota Tacoma for the day. The plan was for a 10am departure., getting me there about two hours before the 3pm start. My good friend Chris joined me and we were off. Needless to say, there were some accidents that slowed us down. So at 2pm, as we were about 10mins from the parking lots, Chris took over driving while I gotchanged in the passenger seat. So much for being early!
A quick pre-race spin and meeting with my teammates and we were ready to go. Those unfamiliar with the Sea Otter Circuit Race, it's takes place on the undulating and winding Laguna Seca Raceway. It's characterized by a 2min climb each lap; the first minute at 6-9% (today with a tail wind), then a quick90 degree left turn followed by the second minute that's even steeper (first 20 secs at 14-18% then levels to 8-10%). The wind now comes from the left. It then dives down a descent, of similar gradient, called the Corkscrew. This is followed by a 2km windy run to the start/finish, with one 20sec bump that rises 20 meters in elevation about a 1/3 of the way. Here's the course profile on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/546457832
The whistle blew and 75 minutes of racing was ahead of us. We had a loose plan; if a break went then we wanted good representation in it. I knew I could hang in it so wanted to be part of it if the opportunity presented itself. I had thoughts leading into to the race of trying to cause a selection on the main climb of lap 3 or 6. I lead it up the climb the first time at a solid pace. Fast forward to the start of lap 4, we round turn one and start the climb and I'm sitting 7-8th wheel. There's a lull at the front so I just keep pressure on the pedals and push off the front. I look back and nobody responds. So I keep the pressure on the steep part of the climb and then over the top. I speed down the Corkscrew in a tuck and roll onto the flats. The gap is probably 10-15 secs. I remember looking at my Garmin not too long after this point and see we've been racing for about 23mins and think 'there's still a lot of race left to be out here on the front'. My thought is some riders will bridge up, hopefully with a teammate or two in tow. But I go back to what I feel I need to focus on, which is being aero on the flat windy section and keeping solid power on the climb.
A few laps go by and nobody has bridged yet and my lead is 30-35secs. Then a few laps later and I'm out of sight from the chase group. The only thing I can do is keep going. I try to maintain consistent power on the first part of the main climb with the tail wind, then shift down into an easier gear and spin up the steep section, trying to hold a wattage I know is right around the same the chasing group will be at.
Fast forward to half way on the last lap and It finally sinks in that I'm not going to be caught. I roll across the line about 50secs ahead of the group, plenty of time to sink it all in and share a little victory salute.
I couldn't have done this effort if it wasn't for these awesome teammates. They were marking bridge attempts, allowing my lead to extend each lap. Thanks guys. MBFY!