By Dennis Pedersen
Talk about low expectations: I rode 75 miles in our Swanton Road intervals the day before, and surfed at Pleasure Point and did electrical work on our house that Sunday morning. And Salinas is a new race, so who knew whether it would be well-run... though the thought of driving to Sacramento to race at "Land Park" instead was less appealing.
Originally I wanted to help Nils in the Elite 3 race, but he was tired from taking 8th at Bariani Road Race on Saturday... cry me a river (just kidding!). Only 7 guys had pre-registered for 45+, so I visualized a tiny field of riders chasing each other around the smooth, flat, 5-corner course by Salinas Airport. The steady wind would split things up too, no doubt, so it could be interesting. But when I lined up I saw I was alone against 7 guys from San Jose Bike Club, 5 from VOS, 3 from IC3 and a variety of others: about 25 total. Well, interesting is what we want, right? I was a bachelor that day and "fun" was my goal.
Right from the start SJBC launched hard attacks and IC3 did a good job of going with them a few times. I was up front the whole race and had to chase down a lot of these attacks, though I noticed VOS contributed too. But I also noticed that VOS never went on any hard attacks... perhaps they wanted a field sprint? And Morgan Stanley only had Eric Saltzman, who mostly sat in smartly while watching me pull the pack up to various breaks.
Some of the breaks looked like danger, especially the solo breaks by one of the SJBC guys (Andrew Nevitt?). Some others I didn't bother to follow. Only a few times did two guys break away for a couple of laps at most. I tried to get a bigger break going but each time it fell apart. They almost all attacked solo on the other side of the course from me so I had to work hard just to go with them, then they'd sit up. Darn! I think we could have done it, but most of the guys seemed to want to try solo flyers, while VOS wanted to keep the field together.
After a last attack by the fast SJBC rider with 2 laps to go, that I chased down, I was leading the pack for the last lap... sigh, how did I get suckered into that? I thought I was soft-pedaling but the vicious whoosh of the pack swallowing me up on the last straight confirmed that my form wasn't good enough for a strong sprint. My legs could have kept on racing at threshold for a while longer, but my top-end was shot.
A guy from VOS won the sprint finish so I can see why they waited. SJBC and IC3 didn't get anything though.
Well, I did have tons o' fun with my chosen activities on my bachelor day, and that's what counts!