I always love Salida. Its the one race that we actually get to hang out with our buddies across different teams and catch up. At Gila everyone tries to get the recovery going quickly. Nationals is always a little nervous. I had breakfast with Walter Durrer, John Guala and Jonathan Ploransky. It was fun getting the details behind Walter Durrer’s second place at the Swiss National Time Trial. Saturday dinner with Byron Nix, Shane Orr, Craig Hoffer and CJ Kraus. Having 3 microbrews the night before the road race was probably not the best prep, but this is master’s racing. I stayed in the Salida hostel to save money. $25 a night is not bad especially when you get access to a kitchen, laundry facility, etc.
Preriding the crit I noticed that the race organization had shortened the course which meant an even more technical course. Boups and I discussed our strategy prior to the race. He would be the designated sprinter and I would try my chances in the break. With all the corners I decided to go out hard from the gun. I led the first lap which may not be the best strategy on most courses. However, I’m pretty sure most everyone was hurting way more than I was. After the first lap I settled in, but the break went almost immediately after. I attacked towards the end of the 2nd lap and bridged with Tory from RMCC on my wheel. It took me a while to bridge and definitely burnt a match.
We had a big group of 13 with us and a lot of the strong men. Gates and Josh Barnett had missed out and so had Lance Sulzen from Groove. The best sprinter in our group was Shane Orr, so I knew I had to deal with him. There were 3 RMCC guys in our group, Tory, Segur and Thies. They immediately began constant attacking. I knew that something was going to go and it was only a matter of time. I sat in at the back of our group and recovered from my bridging effort. Eventually Tory and Keith Harper got off the front and it looked promising. I attacked several times to try and bridge, but was always shut down by Segur and Thies. Meanwhile RMCC was blocking in the main field quite effectively despite the best efforts of TT monsters Kevin Nicol and Walter Durrer to bring things back. I wasn’t too worried about getting caught because we could see that we had approximately 40 seconds on the field and they weren’t really gaining us. So, I decided to save as much energy to go up against Shane Orr for the final podium spot. Shawn Betz, Chris Doyle, Jack Jefferies were doing a lion share of the work with Seth Minks throwing in some attacks here and there. Each attack was neutralized by Segur and Thies.
On the last lap I moved on to Shane’s wheel. Chris attacked with 1000 meters to go. Shane grabbed his wheel with me in tow. After navigating the final corner Shane and I launched our sprints from either side of Doyle. It came down to a bike throw and Shane got me for the last podium spot. At the front Tory had out kicked Keith for the win. In the main field Lance, Sherman, Gates and Boups went 1,2,3,4 to pick up valuable BAT points. Big kudos to RMCC for controlling the race and giving a chance to Tory for the win. Well played.