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ThirstyBear Cycling 35+ 4 team on rocket fuel dominate Wente Vineyards Classics

Race: Wente Road Race 3 laps 50 miles
Riders: Jim Grant, Peter Badertscher, Eric Lagier, Piers Barry
Conditions: Sunny, moderate winds, hot.

Great race today with incredible work on the front by Jim Grant and Peter Badertscher and an awesome final launching pad from Eric Lagier.
Race started with all the top finishers from Copperopolis, and 60 riders had registered (not sure how many actually started).

The field was pretty content to just follow a few guys at the front the whole time.  The first lap was fairly tame, and the most excitement came on the steep downhill right turn where a rider decided to take a Lance Armstrong style side trip off the road, through some 4 foot high fields of grass and managed to stay upright and rejoin.
The pace picked up after that with Jim Grant going to the front for large portions of the race and keeping a great tempo going.  Peter put in some excellent time there as well.  All in all the 4 ThirstyBear riders were at the front about 50% of the time.
I decided to lead from the finish of the climb through the descent the last two laps to stay out of any potential crashes.
Peter put in a great push through the penultimate last climb at 42 miles, and managed to fatigue some of the competition with his pacemaking up the hill.
5 miles from the finish the pace really heated up.  Jim, Peter and Eric were sitting near the front on the right while I was stuck in 20th on the left trying to get over behind them.
I managed to get nearly get repositioned 1000 meters before the final steep right hand turn.  Then the Roaring Mouse rider (Kirkbride) started cramping.  The Thirsty trio in front went the the middle of the road.
Eric launched out the group like he was shot out of a cannon!   I was able to thread through about 12 riders and went on a tear after him and the one rider able to follow his wheel.  The other rider blew up, and I caught up to Eric and went again off his wheel.  I looked back to a huge gap, kept going and was able to sit up and celebrate across the line with about 150 meters over second place.   Eric was just pipped on the line for second and ended up third.  Great Race out there with a very satisfying win on brand new Trek from City Cycles and a huge debt of gratitude to my teammates.

Piers Barry


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