Hans got it started early, taking a flyer as soon as the flag dropped (literally). Gardie jumped on the solo bridger (Dirk). Hans drifted back to us in the group on the rollers along the ridge. So as we rolled the first lap, it looked like Gardie was set for a bit of moto-pacing behind Dirk for the day.
Unfortunately, Gardie flatted at the bottom of our second trip up the finishing hill. He let us know Dirk was solo and running about 1min ahead of us. The rest of the lap involved a lot of looking around. Oddvar and Hans took turns riding hard tempo, but only 2-3 other people were willing to work. Too many passengers.
So the next trip up the finishing hill, I tried to stretch it out a bit. Did manage to shed a few stragglers but still had maybe 14 (and Dirk had 3+ mins at this point.)
I learned my lesson about going 90% on the hill (it doesn’t work) so I decided to ramp it up the next trip up the finishing climb. Coretech’s Rich had the same idea and so he mashed it up with me and we opened a decent gap. Unfortunately Kevin Klein and John Hunt tagged on as we hit the rollers on the ridge. Kevin was soft-pedaling and Hunt was sitting on the back, so the chasers were able to keep us in sight. They reconnected as we dropped off the ridge.
At that point, we’re about 20km from the finish. A lot of looking around. So Oddvar says ‘If you want to look for me, look for me at the finish’ — and he’s gone.It’s a stiff crosswind so he stretches out a pretty good gap pretty quickly. Klein shoots off in pursuit, but I’m boxed in so have to be a spectator on that (disappointing because nothing would make me happier than to sit on a guy who only sits on. Karma and all.)
Once we make the right turn onto Tesla Rd (the start road) and hit the hill, Rich starts to bridge across. I decide to wait for others to close that down. So I wait. And wait. And wait. Nobody is going to make it, so I jump hard, sprint over the crest and catch onto the three-man train, powered by Oddvar.
All four of us rotate through until around about the start line. At that point, Oddvar rolls beside me and says, “Save yourself for the final climb”. He then takes over and drills it for the next 10k, by himself. Amazing effort, and incredibly selfless. (I look forward to returning the favor.)
Oddvar leads us around the right-hander onto the finishing climb. After all the work Oddvar did, there’s no way I’m letting him — or the team — down. So I figure I’ll let Klein and Rich ride the climb how they want and then I’ll smash the last 200m. (Ok, not a ‘Jan-style’ smashing, but …) And that, my friends, is what happened: best of the rest (Dirk won by 6mins or something) + bonus with Oddvar coming in 5th. Hans and Scott came home with the chasers.
A good day for the Bears, slotting two in the Top 5 at a tough race.
Hope to see everyone again at Berkeley Hills.