Dunnigan Hills RR : Masters 45+ 4b : 2nd Place : Tarmac

I wanted to have a ride on the Dunnigan course to see what it would be like for racing on in the future. As the 45+ 4b race  only had 17 entries I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to scope it out. As I have mentioned in my blog before I dont enjoy racing when it is super hot and Dunnigan was just that.

Once we had got through the neutralized section a few people put in attacks just to liven things up but nothing looked to serious. My planned tactic for the day was to go with any break that had a Tri Valley Velo or Taleo guy in it as they both had 3 man teams.  About 10 miles into the race on a section of rollers with a strong crosswind two Tri Valley guys attacked and I went with them.  We worked together for about a mile or so but I could sense that there wasn’t a good commitment to the move so I didn’t push too hard.

Over the next few miles the heat really hit and the strong crosswind forced the group into a single line. There were many small attacks but nothing stuck and it seemed as if the same few riders were always on the front. I had an exploratory attack  but it was not successful. I realized that if i was to make an attack stick I needed to find a hill on which to launch it.

My chance came on a fairly long hill after the feed and this time I got away with 3 other strong riders that were willing to work. People were pulling through really hard in the break and I was a bit concerned that it was not sustainable and as a result we went down to 3 riders.  Unfortunately the wind went out of the group when we lost that rider and we were soon back together.  I decided to back off and plan to attack again once we hit the tail wind section with about 18 miles to go.

When we hit the tailwind part I attacked again and this time I was really committed to time trialing to the finish on my own. I instantly got a good gap and managed to keep increasing it gradually once I got into time trial mode. The tailwind was not as good as I was hoping for but I felt strong enough to make things stick.  Unfortunately with about 10 miles to go I made a stupid error and misunderstood a CHP signal and went off course.  By the time I realized my mistake the chasing group had already passed the junction where I went wrong and I had that sinking feeling that I had thrown it all away.

I turned round and chased like a thing possessed. Fortunately I caught and then managed to work with another rider that had also gone off course and after a couple of miles we got back to the rather small lead group.  I was pretty cooked and I sat at the back doing my best to recover. I had only been in the group a mile when two riders in front of me got tangled up and went down. I just managed to miss the carnage but this left the lead group with only six riders.

As we approached the turn with 2K to go the race referee warned us of gravel on the road and sure enough one of the riders came down on that final turn.  With 1k to go,  a Tri Valley Velo guy (Keith Reed) put in an an early sprint and I managed to get latched onto the back of the Taleo guy who I knew had a really good sprint.  When the Taleo guy (John Galvin) went with 200m  to go I tried my best to beat him but he was faster and I ended up getting second place by about bike.

It was an extraordinary race for me and a great deal of fun even with all the incidents.  It got into triple digits by the time we raced and I was absolutely fried when I got to the finish. I would definitely race this one again but hopefully on a cooler day.

Results:

1 409.21 John Galvin Concord, CA 333042 705 Taleo Racing
2 421.91 Mark King Livermore, CA 136967 708 Christian Cycling-Hammer Nutrition
3 434.61 Steven Gibson Paradise, CA 364841 706 Chico Masters Cycling Team

http://www.usacycling.org/results/?permit=2012-2828

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