Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gabe Says!

The Ventura Chapter of the SB Chicken Ranchers opt’ed for better weather in NorCal. John Vanmanekes and myself made a last minute decision and headed north on Sat evening to enter the Merco Foothills RR in Merced CA. Unlike our brothers who headed south, or stayed local, we endured perfect weather w/ the temps in the mid-60’s w/ patchy clouds.
The race was run on the back roads of Merced with complete road closures. I can’t remember ever being in a road race where we had no center line rule and access to the whole road….pretty cool! The course was basically 72 miles of rollers and flats, with the biggest hill being slightly steeper than our local Bates Rd and about the same length. We had roughly 90+ racers in our group. Considering that John has been going really well lately, it was agreed prior to the race start that I would work for John to either help bring back breaks, or get him into position for the sprint.
The race was difficult at times with attacks and small breaks that didn’t materialize, but going into the final lap it was pretty much certain that it was going to come down to a sprint finish. The last 2 miles included some big ring out of the saddle rollers, with the finish being about 500 meters from the top of the last roller. The original plan was to get to the top in the lead group and lead John out, but going into the final 2 miles, the Specialized Factory team formed an 8 man lead-out for their sprinter, who happened to have also won the previous day's crit. At this point, John got on my wheel and we made our move on the outside. Once on the front, I tried to wedge myself into the Specialized train, but they had it locked down pretty tight, so I just tried to keep the momentum up as high as I could and keep John near the front. Once we got near the top of the last roller, my legs were done and John went around in the top 10. I got swarmed by about 50 guys, but I managed to see John’s head bobbing near the front of the sprinting pack. He pulled off an impressive 7th place finish in a hard fought sprint, and his prize……$20 which covered the Starbucks bill on the way home.

There was also the Sage Brush MTB race last weekend. Paul Donahoe, Alfredo Gallegos, and myself headed down to San Diego early Sunday morning. Alfredo pulled off a 4th place in the Cat 3s, Paul turned in a 12th place in the Cat 2’s, and I finished in 7th in the Cat 1’s.

That’s it!


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