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ThirstyBears Chris Phipps powers through to the top at Wente 35+ 1/2/3

Tough race today!

Thirsty Bears: Daly, Gallardo, Hynes, McQuaid & Phipps.
Race started off fast & didn’t slow down much. We caught the Cat 3 field who had started 5 min in front of us after just 20 min of racing.  Strava shows I rode faster laps this year than in P/1/2 last year and 35+ in years past.
Unfortunately, Ken flatted out on the 1st lap, so we were down to 4. 🙁
Jeromy Cottel (Specialized) attacked early & was joined by Nick Theobald (Safeway) & Dan Bryant (Folsom Bike).
The 3 of them built their lead up to 2 min as the Studio Velo guys rode tempo at the front before Brenon & a couple Mike’s Bikes guys (Appel & Hobbs) put in some monster pulls to bring it to under a minute. After the penultimate climb our chase group was down to around 12 guys when Metcalfe attacked as the descent started & bridged to the break.
I was trying to do as much as I could to bring it back & try to set up Greg, but we weren’t getting much help, so Greg came up to lend a hand too & with help from a couple others pulled the break to within about 10 sec.
 Then with about 10K to go Sayers (Specialized) attacked & bridged to the break, so now Specialized had 3 of 5!  Sayers & Cottell worked it to set it up for Metcalfe while we tried to bring it back or at least not let it get any further ahead.
As we were doing this, another group of around 12 who had been dropped caught back on about 1k before the final climb started. Sayers gave his last pull & pulled off at 2K to go, then Cottell led it to the final turn where Metcalfe launched.  We got there about 15 sec later & I thought we were racing for 5th, and the way I felt with dead legs & 15 guys who had been sitting in, I was thinking it would be tough to hang on for a top 10.
But as I led up the climb, the guys who had been in the break all day were just crawling so we flew by Cottell, Theobald & Bryant. Only Metcalfe remained, still around 10 sec ahead. With 500M to go & Nate Parks (Folsom Bike) was pulling up next to me to go by, so I put in a final burst & got away solo and to my surprise was quickly catching Metcalfe. I caught & went by him with 200M to go & just kept sprinting to the line for the win!

More importantly though, I got the Strava KOM on the finishing climb!
Greg had a strong final sprint to finish 6th with Phil in 21st!  They gave Brenon a DNP, but he did finish. Thanks for the help guys!

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