Jet Engine Jason WIN at Madera Stage Race 35+
Madera 35+ 123 Stage Race Report
Most of the 35+ regulars were short on family capital or gassed after strong Chico Stage Race performances the week prior. My TT was running well and I wanted to race more races this year that suited my strengths. Despite the fact that the Time Trial stage is a big decider in Madera, I haven’t had a killer performance there… until this year.
13 of us lined up for Madera 2015 and I was a little nostalgic that this stage race that I cut my stage race teeth on many years ago was now a B or non-race for a lot of people. This race hasn’t changed. Still the same crappy roads on all the stages, late results, and I still love every minute of it.
Criterium – 40 minutes, 25mph avg, crit was pretty slow, but with 2 guys per team (except me and Joe Staron from Bicycles Plus), there were several short and half-hearted attacks, but nothing with gas that would make them stick. Mikes Bikes, Oliver Ryan and Scott Cox worked really well together, taking each a 5 second prime and taking 1st and 2nd in the crit, respectively. It was an exercise in smart teamwork that many of us saw at the Chico Stage Race the weekend prior.
Time Trial – 10.4 miles, 22:08, 28.2mph, 1st and ~40 seconds on 2nd place. My pacing was good from Chico, where I also ran well. Uncharacteristically, I went out hard. I eased up a little in the second section after the first turn with the expectation to crush the final half of the course. I didn’t really look down at my Garmin because I was paranoid about hitting a hole in the road (like I did in 2013 and flatted). Jonathan Eropkin from Chronos was always on the horizon and he was my 1 minute man. I was about 3 seconds off him when I finished. This was a really good run for me and I would have been tied for 3rd place in the P12 field with this time. I was about 40 seconds faster than 2nd place and with time bonuses from the crit, Oli Ryan was ~12 seconds behind me.
Road Race – Early. Cold. Windy. But then the race started and the layers started coming off quickly. We were combined with the 45s field and I was really happy that 12 of us in the 35s didn’t have to mess around for 70 miles playing cat and mouse. It was also good to have Dan, Tom, and Shawn from the 45s group as well as a lot of the “45 guys” who I know already. More racers means more fun racing. John Olsen from ArtsCyclery was off the front early and everyone let him dangle on a short leash. That lasted until about lap 3 when he got reeled in. It wasn’t too crazy or fast on all sections, including the rough pavement and I think Dan Quirk was on the front for every single trip through the rough pavement. The 45 ThirstyBears were controlling and regulating the field really well. I was following Oli Ryan all day who was my only danger man, being 12 seconds down on me meant I couldn’t let him get 1st or 2nd because time bonuses would leap frog him over me on GC. I was going a little nuts as he is a very smart, patient, and tactical rider, and we were on the back a lot, talking, while I wanted to follow every move and attack at every opportunity. On the final lap, the 45 Bears were regulating the front with three 45 non-GC threats up the road. All 35s were in the field and I was staying close to Oli. When we got to 1km to go, approaching a long set of punchy rollers, Jonathan Eropkin from Chronos launches a hard attack off the front. I stay with it and it’s game on. Lines start forming and we are overtaking a 4s field. I use the 4s to my advantage and come around, close to them on the right as most of the field is advancing and moving on the left. 200 meters is marked and I have good position and an open door on the right side. I went as hard as I could and I have that extra couple important pedal strokes to take first place by a wheel, in front of Joe Staron from Bicycles Plus. After playing defense the entire day, I pulled out a strong offense and won the 35s road race and the 35/45 field sprint. The three 45s remained up the road, but by only a couple seconds and Tom kept his GC lead. What a fantastic Madera for ThirstyBear p/b Akamai!!