I have never ridden the Winters road race before so I didn’t really know what to expect. My goal for the race was to stay safe and make sure I was in the top 10 over the Cantelow climb. My race had 50 riders which was actually quite a lot for the narrow roads with rigidly enforced center line rule. It was pretty windy and I found myself having to battle into the wind quite a lot just to keep in the top 15 of the race. The course was pretty flat with the exception of some big ring rollers and as such the group stayed together until the base of the Canteloupe climb. Cantelow was pretty fast at the bottom with a flat/downhill section in the middle followed by a short steep section to the top. I made sure I was near the front and crested the climb in third place so that I would be safe on the rather technical descent.
I am definitely road racing rusty and as such did not feel very confident on the fast descent and corners so the effort on the climb was well worth it. After the climb there were some fast twisty roads and the group put the hammer down so that riders dropped on the climb could not get back on again. We actually had a pretty fast pace line along this section and I reckon the group was probably 2/3 of what it was before the climb.
On the second lap I ended up on the front on the frontage road into the wind and people seemed to be reluctant to share the pace. I figured that the wasted energy was worth it to keep near the front and as such safe. I tried a little attack before the rollers in the hope a few riders would come across to me but no one did and I was soon back in the group. I was hoping that the pace would go ballistic on the rollers to whittle the group down before the final climb but on the rollers things went pear shaped.
On the first roller we were neutralized by the judges so that the Cat 3 race could overtake us and we remained neutral over the remaining rollers. When we were finally given our leash the pace went very fast and we ended up catching the Cat 3 field before the climb. It was absolutely chaos on the climb as we tried to fight our way through the CAT 3 field and I had little idea who was in my race and who wasn’t. I crested the climb with two riders from my field and once we got onto the flat roads to the finish we caught one guy who said there was 1 further Cat 4 ahead but we were it (4 of us). We worked hard to try to keep our lead but we were soon blocked by the CAT 3’s and I was extremely frustrated to be sat just off the back of their group with no way of getting past. I was sat off the back as I didn’t want to get DQ’d for working with a different group.
With about 5 miles to go the judge finally split the groups and forced us to give the 3’s a few minutes head start. I was sat at the back of our group which had now swelled to 13 riders. If I could have got through I would have put in an attack but as it was I had to wait until 200m to go where we were allowed to use both sides of the road. I put in a very late sprint and managed to get 5th place. The finish was so close between the first 5 riders that I thought I had got 3rd. Take a look at the picture (I am on the far right).
It was an enjoyable race and the standard of riding was very good so I couldn’t ask for more than that.
|1||375.82||Scott Sommerfeld||Manteca, CA||288687||390||Fun Sport Bikes Cycling Team|
|2||377.84||Greg McCormac||Danville, CA||171823||356||Kovaras/Wells Fargo|
|3||379.86||Chris Morris||El Dorado Hills, CA||316874||380||Folsom Bike/Mercedes Benz|
|4||381.88||Gregg Marioni||San Anselmo, CA||22517||374||California Giant Cycling|
|5||383.90||Mark King||Livermore, CA||136967||368||Christian Cycling – Hammer Nutrition|
|6||385.92||randy floyd||Newcastle, CA||90079||364||victory velo racing|