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ThirstyBear Cycling Ken Gallardo takes 4th and Alan Nevin 7th at Pescadero RR 35+ 123

Date: June 2, 2013

Event: Pescadero Road Race
Category: 35+ 1/2/3
Field: Approx 40
Racer: Ken Gallardo
Result: 4th
Teammates: Brenon Daly (DNP), Eric Lagier (18th), Greg McQuaid (15th), Alan Nevin (7th)

After 35 minutes of serial suffering in 95 degree heat, why not spend 3 hrs 20 minutes alternating between cold misty descents and warm sunny full throttle climbs? That’s what I thought – a ThirstyBear’s idea of a fun weekend! With last year’s winner, Mr Phipps, taking a leisurely Sunday off of racing, I volunteered to step up and lead the ThirstyBear 35+ team at Pescadero. While my power-to-weight ratio isn’t quite at Phipps’ level, it’s rapidly increasing (though it would increase faster if I didn’t know how to bake cookie bars and could eat a small cup of ice cream instead of the entire pint…) and I felt like I had a good shot at grabbing the win. After my usual lack of warm-up (mostly consisting of shivering at the start line!) we were off to the races.

Eric Lagier’s first cat 3 race. Was great to experience. 
No neutral start this year, and the sprint line back in it’s usual spot further up Stage road (last year it was a mere 1 km out of Pescadero!) so the field stayed together for the first couple of miles. And then, the ever-attacking Dan Martin from Safeway…attacked! The first lap, literally, every attack was Dan. Well, he finally got a little ways off the front and we let him dangle for a while. Eric came to the front and pulled him back as we approached the feed zone and then he and I cruised up Haskins at the front for the first time.

Ken, Brenon, Greg, Alan and Eric made it a strong ThirstyBear Cycling presence in the field. 
The group stayed pretty much together until we got down into the flatter section when…Dan attacked again! We let him go and let others chase until he got out of sight and then Greg went to the front to set a strong tempo.

Greg setting the chasing pace up the hill

Greg making the field stretch out. 
This inspired a couple other teams to join in until Dan was back in view as we approached the first Stage Road climb. We went a bit faster this time around but didn’t lose too many guys so the 2nd Stage climb was a little faster. Dan managed to stay off the front for a while longer and after he got pulled in his teammate Kyle Glerum attacked. He was joined by a Divine Electric rider and together they built a 40 second lead. That evaporated on the climb as the pace cut the field to about 15 guys but swelled to about 25 on the long descent. Stage road the final time was hard but manageable and Kyle attacked again and held a gap until we got to 84 again. There were a flurry of attacks but by now everyone could sense the impending finishing climb and nothing got very far. Greg helped pull back several attacks and even ended up in one break but the field was all together as we entered the feed zone for the final time. The pace picked up on the downhill stretch but with Greg, Alan and Eric still in the mix, I was able to come into the bottom of the hill about 5th wheel and then followed Eric around the outside of the corner to sit 5th wheel as the road kicked up.

Nick Theobald of Safeway opened the aggression almost immediately but that only strung out the group. When we hit the 2k to go sign, Josh Dapice (Audi, 2nd behind Phipps last year) went to the front and turned up the heat. I was still 5th wheel behind Nate Parks (Folsom Bike) and as we approached 1k to go, things got a little dicey. Nick started drifting back on the left, just off the centerline and Nate was sandwiched between Nick and a rider from R4R. I think Nick hit a Botts Dot and bounced to the right which pushed Nate into the R4R rider’s rear wheel. This popped the R4R guy’s rear skewer but fortunately everyone stayed upright. I’m now 3rd wheel for what seems like the longest 1k finish… Josh is still leading it out and I’m feeling surprisingly good. I can sense there are still a few guys in the hunt even behind me so I’m antsy but trying to bide my time. I figure I can’t let it come down to the last 100 meters as I know my finishing kick is still lacking so as the road sweeps right and then left with about 250 m to go, I accelerate to the inside. This doesn’t take anyone by surprise though and with 100 m to go, three guys go by me…Parks, Birky (Wells Fargo) and Matt Adams (Mike’s Bikes). It looks like Parks is going to take the win but Adams got by him in the last 50 m. I cross the finish line wondering if I had a little more kick at the end and think my mental game needs a step up in the suffering department (though I certainly suffered a lot on Saturday…) And of course, my Garmin had beeped Low Battery on Stage Road and shut off almost immediately after I crossed the finish line (perfect timing!).

Alan coming in for the finish and takes 7th. 
My fitness definitely feels like it’s on track and with a little more self control and a couple good weeks of training, I’ll be ready to inflict some real pain at Mt Hood. Next potential race will be Nevada City (my debut ride there, should be interesting!) and the next couple weeks of training will revolve around sprinting and time trialing with some hill climbs thrown in for fun!
Ken G


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