Pescadereo coastal classic road race 35+cat 4
Big thanks to my family for the time, HC3 for the strength, GRID 6 and the Bicycle Trip for the support.
The day before this race was my cousins wedding and I had to control myself and my appetite, not to over indulge. Which was quite the challenge with some of the finest food, wine and dessert's Iv'e seen in a long time. Don't get me wrong, I still made two trips to the dessert table. I was happy to fall asleep that night but woke around 3 am and tossed and turned until morning. I get up and pack the car and force some food on myself, then it's off to foggy Pescadero. It's a cold and damp morning when I get there, but I get dressed and have a much needed warm up.
The race starts with a neutral zone through town then a right turn onto Stage Rd and were off. There's a "prima" sprint on the flat part of this road on each lap, this speed's the pace up and strings out the race a bit. I pick up my speed to stay with the lead group, I don't want the sprint I just want to stay up front. I'm keeping my eye on a friend and fellow racer who won the Mt Hamilton race a week before and is most likely my strongest competition. The race stays together and we make it over Stage Rd in a fast but comfortable pace. Next we are riding fast down highway 84 with a tail wind, around ten of us are willing to work. I'm taking pulls in the rotation but staying relaxed and conservative. We get to Haskins Rd which is the main climb in this race, it's about a 8 to 9 minute effort. "Piers" the winner from Mt Hamilton and many other races this year and myself lead the race up the climb with a hard but manageable pace. The finish line is at the top of this climb and we roll through it together knowing we have one more lap to complete. If any riders fell off in the climb I'm sure were all back together after the decent, because of the mellow pace in the flats. One more "prima" sprint picks up the pace and a strong tempo over Stage Rd but nothing explosive. One guy gets up the road and we chase him for most of highway 84, no one's working too hard knowing the final climb is coming. Piers, myself and a couple other guys pull the rider back shortly before the climb.
We round the corner into the climb and Piers jumps and gets about a twenty yard gap, I know not to jump but I focus on him and start a fierce pace. It's a long climb and I know how my body usually work's, so I ease into a maxed out pace, basically red lined but saving something for the top. I'm keeping the leader in sight around 20 yards up the road and can hear heavy breathing behind me. Around three quarter's of the way up I'm matching the leaders pace and even gaining slowly, it's all quite behind me. I refuse to look back because if I'm all alone my body might just slow down on it's own. 500 meters to go and I'm still grinding a steady pace. At 200 meters to go you come out of the trees into a clearing and there's a mild left and right turn then the finish line. I come into the clearing and see I'm closer to the leader then I though and he's slowing his pace getting ready to celebrate. Firework's go off in my head and my mind is telling my body go-go-go! I shift down one gear, stand up and start pushing as hard as I can. I'm gaining on him and I can see the finish line approaching. My mind is processing the speeds were both going and there's no way he can match my speed when I pass him. I can tell he's surprised from a sound he make's as I pass him and roll through the line about ten feet in front of him.
He was a great sport and we had a laugh afterward, and both learned a valuable lesson.