It took a real act of fortitude to do this one. I hardly slept because of the torrential rain pounding the skylight all night, and the drive south through Moss Landing was with the wipers on full, going 25 mph due to limited visibility.
Consequently, a bunch of teammates didn’t show, and I don’t blame them a bit. It was just me and Ken Sato from Team Bike Trip.
Ken and I agreed to alternate covering attacks. I also decided that after two laps, if no one else attacked, I would. And that’s how it panned out. I chose the big-gear hill on the back side of the course, because it looked like, with a strong attack, you could be out-of-site, out-of-mind.
I hit it hard and established a pretty good gap. This felt really good, until I thought about the implications: did I really think I could I hold this for four more laps? Fortunately, when I looked back, I could see a lone rider laboring across the gap. From the VOS jersey, and his small size, I knew it was Scott Hennessey. Good! I eased up ever so slightly, and he bridged. Then we put our heads down and got to work.
Ken, and Scott’s four VOS teammates, did some blocking for us. Every lap, at the top of the stair-step climb, Scott would say, “Hey, my eyes aren’t so good—can you look back and see how close they are?” Fortunately, after one lap, I couldn’t see anyone back there. So it was just a matter of keeping the focus, which we did. I’m not sure of the gap at the finish, but I think it was substantial. I was pretty worked, but had enough snap to cross the line first.
Afterward, I circled back to watch the field sprint, and was overjoyed to see Ken leading everyone up the finish hill. His handlebar had loosened dangerously on the last lap, and as he put it, “I knew I couldn’t sprint with a loose handlebar, so I had to break away.” Good choice! First and third for Team Bike Trip. It was a small field so I don't want to make too big a deal out of it, but it was fun and I tried to be aggressive.