Race 55+ Cat 123 60+ & 65+ scored separately for districts
Conditions: Damp but not raining about 63 degrees.
Mt Hamilton seems almost like two races, the big climb and then the valley. I don’t seem to be doing so well on early in race climbs lately, so when the likes of Kevin Susco, Steve Archer and Rob Anderson set a strong pace up the hill, I fell back and tried to keep a reasonable gap. This didn’t seem to be happening and even though I was in a small chase group that worked somewhat together, we were losing time on the lead group all the way up. I figured I’d be racing for maybe 10th place, but kept pushing the pace hoping to pull some guys back on the other side.
Alan Roberts turns on the ‘diesel’ engine and crushes the field one by one to finish 3rd.
Guys started blowing up near the top and so the decent was myself and a SJBC guy who knew the road like the back of his hand. A Victory Velo rider joined us at the bottom, so now there were 3 of us working up the hill to the feed zone and off toward the valley. I put my head down and pushed on and both of those guys blew up, but I picked up a Victory Velo guy falling back from the front group. Unfortunately he couldn’t do more than sit on my wheel for probably 15 miles, so I was essentially on my own. (turns out he won the 65+ race, so he owes me a beer)
Reached the other end of the valley and started up the hills. This was made more fun by the fact that my front derailleur had slipped out of adjustment (again) so I only had big ring gears.
I was catching more guys from my field along the way and then caught up to Rob Anderson and a fella named Joe Lemire on the Hammer team. Always nice to pull up behind a guy wearing rainbow stripes, so I paused for a second behind Rob and then rode around him. He reacted by saying “who was that?” as I went by and grabbed onto my wheel along with Joe. I pretty much pulled them up the rest of the climb. Once it started rolling Rob started rotating with me, but Joe was not able to contribute, so he hung on the back. (Joe ended up first in the 60+ field, so I think he owes me a beer too)
At about 5k to go we spotted a Strava rider and a Victory Velo rider ahead. I wasn’t sure where they were in the field, but we were gaining on them quickly.
I gotta say, Rob Anderson is one of the nicest guys I’ve ridden with in a race. When he saw the riders ahead he said “let’s not catch them too soon, Alan. They don’t know were back here and surprise is on our side”. “Let’s pull up behind them and hit them at 1k”. Now, having a world champion coaching you in a race is pretty cool, so I paid attention. We caught up to them at about 2k and sat on their wheel for a bit but they looked pretty beat, so Rob waved me up and said “attack now!” and I did. Came around them fast with Rob on my wheel. He took one turn and then started yelling “go Alan go!” I mean seriously, a WC cheering you on from behind, how awesome is that?
I looked back at 200m to see them coming hard, so I put my head down and pushed harder. Next time I looked back I’d put 50m on them and was clear going across the line. Not having been at the front of the race, I didn’t know how many were ahead of me, so I had to ask around a bit to see where I finished. Turns out Susco and Archer had been off the front, finishing 1st and 2nd and I ended up 3rd place.
Took forever to get the awards, but thankfully Lance stuck around to ride the 45 miles back to the cars with me with a little burrito stop along the way. Nice 109 mile day!