Conference Champs in the Bs (Race Report)
Bam Solster signing on. Last weekend I journeyed down to Woodland for WCCC Conference Championships road race. I signed in for the Bs just in time to snag the last waiver. It was very windy, but temps were very nice. Maybe a bit too hot. We rolled out at 1:35 with probably 40 riders making up the group. The first few laps were pretty low key with a move or two getting nowhere. On lap 4, Jeff Byrd from Fresno State put in a big attack and proceeded to hold off the pack with another rider (Cal?) for a few laps. Lap 6 found the pair back in the pack, and my legs hinting at cramping. Apparently the 2 bottles of mix I had put down did not help much.
There were many attacks on lap 6, or two-to-go. The pace was very high and echelons formed on the crosswind sections. Fortunately, I had the legs to keep in the front echelon and in the front. With one to go, things were a bit chaotic, as the situation was unclear; whether there was one or two riders up the road. Davis chased hard on the last lap, and we soon learned it was only one man, from Cal. On the back straightaway, a farm tractor was let out in front of the main pack, greatly hampering our chase. The Cal rider was within grasp. On a long stretch, the group overtook the tractor (a terrible idea in any situation), and all came through unscathed. The final straight into the final corner was pure chaos, as any finale is. Riders jockeying for position in a brutal right crosswind, and several teams trying to get a lead out going. I freelanced my way through the traffic, as I was alone in the race.
Coming into the final bend, UCSB had two riders driving the pace 20 feet ahead of us. A Davis rider jumped, and I latched onto his wheel. He slowed to pause on the UCSB riders on the left. I immediately decided to punch through the hole on the right. I launched hard into the headwind and poured everything into the pedals, hoping the Davis rider had been boxed in. I could see the Cal rider sitting up as he crossed the line. With 50 to go, I could hear him coming on my left. With the last bit of energy, I launched a desperate sprint to the line, and gave a bike throw for good measure. It was close, very close. After consulting with the referees, I learned that the camera had shut off, and consequently, our duel was not captured on film. The refs gave 2nd to the Davis rider, and bumped me to third. I strongly disagree with the decision, but have to live with it. No camera, no review. It was still a good race nonetheless, and one that tested me the whole way through. Until next year!