By Matt Wocasek
After racing the district races on rolling terrain the last two weekends I was really looking forward to doing a mountain race. Patterson Pass has over a thousand feet of climbing in the first five miles, a much better environment for a climber like myself. I ended up second in a two man drag race to the line.
The race is held on the Altamont Pass west of Tracy, where it's always windy and hot in the summer. People were already sweating as we staged for the start.
There was a lead pack of around twenty riders that stayed together for most of the first lap. I tried to break things up with an attack on a short hill after the main climb. I pulled out a pretty good gap, but when no one wanted to join me I came to my senses and sat up. It was fun but wasted some resources.
The climbs on the second lap blew the pack apart. There were just six of us still in contact at the top of the main climb. By the time we ascended the second smaller climb, there were just four. When we started the long flat section on Old Altamont Highway there was no one in sight behind us.
There were two Wells Fargo riders in the group. They executed perfectly the classic one guy rests while the other guy attacks tactic. When we hit the short climb a few miles before the finish on the last lap, the chosen Wells Fargo guy and I started attacking. As we went over the top we realized that we had dropped the other two riders in the break so we decided to keep the power on and fight it out at the line. Coming into the finish he got a jump on me and held it to the line. I really have to work on my end of the race kick. The same thing happened to me at Copperopolis this year.