Saturday, Feb 18
Woke up at 2am. Still feeling full from a night of gluttony. Can’t go a night without my cereal. So we leave around 3am and stop at McDonald’s for our usual pre-race meal. I always order their healthiest of foods, deluxe breakfast with coffee. It seems to do the trick. We arrive at Cantua Creek around 7am giving us an hour to spare. The temperatures were freezing but the sun was making an appearance. Given that the course starts on a hill, there was no need for a warm-up. I got ready and sat in my warm car until it was time to race.
The race was three laps, out and back, 72 miles and the field consisted of 44 racers. As soon as the race started, there were a few fellows trying to breakaway. I could still see them but I was busy working my way up the field. By the time I was near the front, the breakaway group of three dudes formed and had gained some ground. There was no anticipation to catch them either. Everyone was chilling and talking about their life stories. On the first turnaround, the break increased their time to 3 minutes on the field. At this moment the pace finally picked up. However, a tailwind on the way back also helped the break. I kept making imaginary checkpoints when we saw the breakaway on turnarounds, implementing a time difference, and they held the 3 minutes all the way through the last lap. I knew something had to be done. Terrence, from Ritte, and I started putting in work for a chance to catch the break and give us a better standing in the end. No one else helped. With 18 miles left, I started to feel a little nervous. Then two guys attempted to breakaway from the field. I decided to let the other guys reel them back in, and once they did I took off! Not sure what I was thinking, most likely boredom. I’m up ahead only pedaling at 40% to see if anyone would join me. The same two guys that attempted earlier soon join me, a junior and senior. I was skeptical about it, but I told myself not to try. We get a rotating paceline going until the last turnaround. Keeping track of time, our little group gained 30 seconds on the field. At this point, there was nothing to lose. I begin to take it up a notch hitting 27-29 mph with some help of the tailwind. The other guys seemed to suffer by this move. It was time for them to go. Took up the speed to 30mph on the flat and dropped them both with ease. I continue drilling it, not looking back, and only remembering all of Cancellera’s epic videos. 6 miles to go, I finally looked back and had to squint in order to see the field. It was a cool feeling. When I get over to the climb, I saw three racers spread out before the finish. Without even thinking about it, I took chase. It didn’t end up being the breakaway group but it got me far enough to pass the line on my own! The breakaway group finished a minute and a half ahead of me and the field came in one minute later. And of course, a beer awaited me.