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Piers go full on at Sea Otter Classics 35+

In the very strong 35+ 123 Piers got fifth doing battle with a very competitive field including Phil Hynes. Photo: Alex Chiu
In the very strong 35+ 123 Piers got fifth doing battle with a very competitive field including Phil Hynes. Photo: Alex Chiu
Race: Sea Otter 35+ 1/2/3
Bears: Phil Hynes, Piers Barry
Competition: Tough.
Terrain: Increasing winds throughout the day.
The pre-registration on this course was pretty ugly with 4 great riders from Southern California signed up and a field of only 23.  I saw Tintsman, Napolitano, Easter and DeMarchi. Of this crew only Napolitano showed up.
There was a still a deep talent pool with Profumo, Carinio, Giles, Dapice, Cottell, Hans Detlefsen, Jason Siegle, Zellers, and Newmeyer/Furgiele.
Almost 40 riders were on the start line, but after a long neutral start we started to quickly lose riders with every lap and every hard acceleration out of the feed zone and up the first climb.  There were numerous attacks with hard accelerations and long chases to keep the dangerous riders within reach.  No one wanted to let Specialized, Arts, or Napolitano up the road.  While there were numerous breaks that stayed 30-45 seconds up the road dangling the race was more attrition than useful attacks.  I stayed in the top few places almost the entire race to jump into any break that had the strongest riders in it.
By mile 24 I was feeling like I wasn’t going to finish the race but it then settled into more of a rhythm.
Phil was there until the 3rd (4th?) time through the feed zone and then we were down to 15 riders left in the race.

The 4th time through the feed zone we nearly ran over a 4 foot snake in the road. The 5th time up the first climb I was feeling great–stronger as the race was going on.  The wind was picking up and I knew I needed to save it for the final lap.  As we went around the feed zone the 5th time I grabbed a bottle and managed to avoid a rattle snake crawling across the road (going to assume he was getting some OSMO).  Meanwhile at the front Dapice and Napolitano attacked again and got a little gap.  I was too far back.  Carinio and Siegle went off the front as well with two groups of two and ten chasers.  I didn’t panic as we had another lap, they would clearly tire out in the wind.  We closed it slightly on the rollers with me and Profumo working more than the rest to bring it back.  I knew I could bridge up on the last time up the first climb without too much difficulty.

Then there was an unfortunate Sea Otter twist.  Somehow the race organizers decided to change our race from 6 laps to 5 laps without telling anyone.  They simply closed off the climb with cones and waved us into the finishing climb.  At this point the leaders must have been pretty happy.  After mass confusion, near crashes as some tried to still make a left turn we went back to work.  Profumo and I started to really increase the pace and quickly reeled in Carinio and Siegle and spit them out the back.  We dropped the rest of the field except Hans Detlefsen.  We made some time back on Napolitano and Dapice but it was too late to close the gap and they stayed away by 35 and 30 seconds.  At the finish Profumo jumped and Detlefsen and I just rolled across without sprinting it out for 4th and 5th respectively.
Great course and really a fun race, but it takes the wind out of your sails when the finishing race strategy is changed at the last second like that.  I have to learn how to sprint at the end somehow….   Got a first hand view of Brenon and the bears mauling the 45+ race just behind.  Phil rolled in just behind Scott Giles and Jeromy Cottell for 15th.  Went and had the world’s best burger/fries/chocolate shake at 400 degrees restaurant in Carmel which made the weekend!   Off to Wente….

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