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Jason Grefrath Laps the Field at BP Winter Crit 35+ 123 to finish 2nd.

Jason Grefrath, ThirstyBear Cycling fights the cyclone rain. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Jason Grefrath, ThirstyBear Cycling fights the cyclone rain. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography

I was looking forward to three days of team camp for months, but due to work and due to the stupid no rain for months, then raining every weekend situation, I bailed on the Friday and Saturday team rides. Instead of slogging through Santa Rosa, I figured I’d slog through the Folsom Crit. It’s 20 minutes from my house and I’ve done this course a million times. It’s a very simple course with no major turns, just sweepers, and I figured I could get a good result in a decent field.

Because I happened to be home instead of Santa Rosa, I got some extra “honey-do’s”, because, you know, I’m home. The last “honey-do” was picking up a granite fountain from a neighbor’s house (those things are heavy) and it made me late to the race. I arrived with 45 minutes to start. I still had to grab my number, pin it, and get warmed up. After a series of frustrating missteps getting all my gear on, I was ready to race, and I joined the field just as they rolled off the finish line.

For the first lap, I fiddled with my gloves, still getting them on, and keeping the bike steady in the rain, wind and puddles on the course. Did I mention it was raining?

4th lap was the first prime and I went clear with Jeff Watson (LangeTwins) and Jeff Galland (Zipz). Jeff Watson took the prime and Galland gave us the “we’re clear” and we started motoring.

Watson was blown from his sprint and had trouble pulling through. After some very direct words about not pulling through, Watson dropped back to the field. (Sorry for being so direct, Jeff!)

 

This left Galland & me together off the front. Once it was just Galland and me and we got a 20s time split, I looked back and told Jeff that we were going to lap the field.

Jeff took some short pulls for the first 8 minutes and for the final 23 minutes, it was all me on the front, steadily drilling it at 350 watts. I was concerned with lapping my first field and stopped racing, really. To win the race, tactically, I should have done things differently. Now that I’ve lapped a field in a race, my bucket list is checked and next time I’ll go for the win (Jan, I promise).

“We” caught the field with 3 or 4 to go and I motored right through the group, hoping they would let us go and that we/I would be out of range of any last lap stupidity. No such luck. Beth Newell (Go BETH!) tagged us and now the field was back together. 2 laps to go became 1 lap and on the final lap, I was more concerned about being out of trouble than about setting myself up for the sprint. (I’m still on the front, btw.)

Final turn is about 200 meters to the finish, slightly uphill and this year was in a major headwind. Coming off the turn, a very pathetic pop out of the saddle, and I watched Jeff take the field sprint, leaving me 2nd place.

Nice work Jeff Galland on playing your cards and about tagging the right wheel. He let me have all the primes… thank you Sierra Nevada, Cytosport, and Bicycle Lawyer (Zin Man wine) for supporting cycling. Jeff also gave me his winnings. While I’m not thrilled about Jeff sitting on my wheel, that’s his card and he raced his race (and won). Next time, I won’t make it so easy, though.

Thanks for reading!
Jason

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