SoCalCup Crit #1 Race Report, Pro 1/2

Executive Summary:

Race: SoCalCup Crit #1 (aka CBR) Pro 1/2
Who Raced: *Mike Herdman (2nd), Roberto Rodriguez (9th), Shawn D’Aurelio (Pack), Stu Press (Pack)
Who Won: Kayle Leogrande (Monster Media)
Field Size: ~60-70

Race Report:
The SoCal racing season seems to start earlier and earlier every year…it’s not even the end of January, and we’re already in the 2nd weekend of official races. Needless to say, none of us expected to have spectacular racing fitness just yet. Mike Herdman, who has been a fantastic teammate for the past two years, but is going to be racing for another team in 2012, still showed up flying the La Grange colors….and of course was part of the game plan. As expected, Monster Media showed up with the monster team….I think about 12 guys…many of which are ex-pros and U.S. champions. With only 4 guys, we knew we weren’t going to dictate anything…so we just had to try to follow the bigger and most threatening moves.

Fairly early in the race the tempo heated up, and breaks and splits went and came back rather quickly. Soon there was a break of 14 riders and the gap opened up quickly. I knew Mike was up the road, but wasn’t sure about Roberto…so I quickly floated to the back of the field to see if he was there. I didn’t see him, and I know he’s not going to be dropped, so I was pretty sure he was up the road too, and I told Shawn to race like it, and we helped shut down chasers.

With 3 Monster Media vs 2 La Grange riders in the break, we were now at much less of a disadvantage. As the race wore on, 5 of the initial 14 riders in the break were spit out, but Roberto and Mike were solid, and we were now in excellent position…especially with only 4 riders in the race. With about 20 minutes to go we heard the break was about 30 seconds from lapping the main group…and I saw all of the Monster Media guys drop to the back, waiting to help bring their lappers through as soon as they caught the field. I thought about this for a few minutes and realized we would have better odds (2 vs 3) if the break DIDN’T catch the field…so I went back to the front and took some strong turns to keep the pace of the field up. Sure enough, the gap stabilized at about 30 seconds and the break wasn’t able to lap.

With 1 1/2 laps to go (which are pretty long laps….about 1.1 miles), Roberto attacked the break solo…a very gutsy move with guys like Jamie Palonetti and Chris DeMarchi in the break. But it was a perfect set up for Mike. Amazingly, Roberto held off the break for 1 1/4 laps…all the way to the very last turn…about 300m from the finish!! Mike had an armchair ride and hit the gas….going to the line with Kayle Leogrande (Monster Media). It was a photo finish, and Kayle got the win by a tire’s width! After a spectacular ride, Roberto still was 9th, picking up a few SoCalCup points!! (Unfortunately, it doesn’t count for a single upgrade point.)

Also, big hat’s off to our women’s squad….putting two of our ladies on the podium yesterday!!!

Thanks for reading!
-Stu

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