Arthur Jones finished 2nd in a strong 45+123 field, while Ken Gallardo and Chris Phipps filled the bottom steps of the 35+123 podium.
Tom Lyons and Hans Gouwens put in a great team effort with Jay Klein and Alan Roberts to grab the top spots in the 45+3/4 group.
45+3/4 Race Report by Tom Lyons
We had four (56 starters) IDTB guys in the 45+ 3/4 race today at Mt Hamilton. Hans Gouwens, Alan Roberts, Jay Klein, and myself. It was my first race since last summer and for that reason, was so glad to be in the 45+3/4 race compared to the 45+1/2/3 that I did last year. I figured the climbing pace wouldn’t be nearly as fast but I also didn’t want to see a big group over the top drop me on the descent. I told Hans that I would probably want to get over the KOM ahead of the field and that they’d catch me sometime after the downhill. I figured it was important to be with the front pack along Mines so not to worry if I push ahead near the KOM to accomplish that. We also had a strategy of attacking in different places after the 40mi mark feed zone with perhaps a chance to get away together. If it came to a bunch sprint, Hans was going to lead me out. Those were our rough plans.
The race started with Kevin O’Donnell (Taleo) setting the pace. It was decent but I was getting bored. Evidently so was Hans. We were riding 2-3 behind Kevin for the first 5mi then Hans bolted up the road. I got ready to follow anyone and sure enough big Holger (Webcor) went in pursuit. After he caught Hans, he pulled over and I eased into the lead and upped the pace. No one came with me so I kept it going and decided that I would just ride up in front of everyone far enough ahead to lure them into upping the tempo but not too far that I would have to try to ride 55mi by myself with what would turn out to be a lot of headwind.
I kept a 30-45 sec advantage up the second climb and into the third main climb. I would look back and see that they had the same guy on the front and I could even see that the other three IDTB guys were still in it. This was working out great for our team. I wanted 5-6 guy in a lead pack to catch me (or not) somewhere after the decent. The group stayed pretty big however (maybe 20). We started passing the stragglers and I blended in. I would hear later that half the group didn’t know if I was absorbed or if I was away still. With about 1K to go, I had 1:10 on the group and made sure to keep it there and eased over the KOM making sure the judges saw me. The moto was still back with the pack so I had been alone. I remember Phipps telling me that he’s won all the KOM’s but never the race so I put that thought out of my mind and went easily down the mountain.
A mile after the feed zone at 27mi, the group caught me. There were 13 of us with Jay, Hans, and I as the biggest team. Two other teams with two and then some individuals. Jay was up front helping to keep the pace high, while Hans and I could sit back and relax for the next 10mi into a very strong headwind. Hans sidles up to me at some point before the 40mi feed zone and says he is going to attack on the long hill after that and I should bridge up near the top. How often do you get to try a thought out race plan? Hans and I both talked about making the race hard and active and this was our big idea here to try to get away together or at least thin it out some more.
An orange jersey guy tried to follow Hans up the hill initially and right when he caught Hans, he faded. I followed the next guy but he couldn’t catch on. So there’s Hans up the road and our pack is starting to thin out. I didn’t quite know where the hill would end, but timed it perfect and blasted out of the pack while no one followed. I caught Hans right as we summitted and we were off together. So much fun! It was about here that I was wishing I hadn’t been on my own for 20mi. I was tired. Hans and I got a two-man TT thing going (just like we talked about doing!). We were madly flicking our elbows at each other, and I was starting to wonder if I could stay with him. I was trying to eat and drink as much as I could all the while trying to hit 25-30 mph through twisty roads passing the remnants of groups ahead. We did this for what seemed like 5mi. The moto-ref was fired up because he kept giving us time updates (no more than 20 secs). I think he was bored before that. After a while he comes up and proudly says “those five guys right behind you are the chase group.” Hans and I let up and I stuff more food/drink into my mouth.
The pace softens when they catch up but we are glad to see there are only five of them. Unfortunately Jay is not among them. Two Webcor guys, a Body Concepts guy, an Audi guy, and a Fremont/Chipotle guy. We go along for another mile or two (I ask Hans how he feels and he says “great”). Then we hit a little uphill and there goes Hans again from the back of the pack. A couple guys jump on him and I just ride in behind them as we catch back on. Hans drifted to the back, reloaded and fired away again not much later. Guys are starting to get the picture. We caught him a second time and finally I feel like I have had a big enough break so after a bit, I jump up, shift and power on getting a gap for a mile or so. They gather and catch me. We’re now about 5mi from the finish and the road is about to go downhill to the end. So, our boy does what everyone knows he is going to do and blasts away again!
He gets a 10 second lead (we got the update from the excited moto-ref at 5K to go) and it looks like it just might work. He can descend solo as good as we can and while we can see him just ahead of us the whole time, the four guys working together in my pack can’t close it. We cross the bridge with 1K to go and I really think he’s got it. There’s a little shuffling as the sprint sets up but I really don’t think any of these guys are going to catch Hans. But, then we see Hans stand up to sprint and I realize that he doesn’t seem to be moving very fast. Probably because he just hammered away at 5mi of hard riding. So, now a few thoughts enter my mind. The prominent one is that one of us must win this race. I am in good position and figure I’ve jumped out ahead of these guys a few times this race without much reaction so I go into the final 200m knowing I can beat all of them. I jump hard and get a good gap. I’m looking back. Hans is looking back. I’m looking up for the finish line. Hans looks up. Can I make it so we go 1-2?
Hans was the strongest, most active guy in this race. He has to be the champ. I keep pushing as hard as I can, closing fast, but have a gap on my group so I am not pulling anyone up. They have to do it themselves. Bill Brier is the only one to get close. I wish Hans would stop looking back. I’m charging right at him, trying to time it so I catch him right at the line without having Brier pass us. I time it perfect and am able to pat Hans on the back as he crosses the line, champion. We did it!