Riders: Victor, Stu, Shawn, Adam, Gustavo, Matias, myself
I had a lot of anticipation for Barry Wolfe this year. The weather lately has been out of this world and perfect for racing. But more importantly, this years Barry Wolfe race took place about 5 minutes from where I live which makes the day so much more convenient. Im not sure there is a race that is closer than an hour away so this is a great gift of venue.
All the top teams showed up – CashCall, Full Circle, and Bahati, to name a few. That being said, we were going with our typical plan to jump on the smart attacks with CashCall involved. We anticipated, however, that they may be looking to get Williams in a sprint at the end as they can always count on. So we weren’t too anxious to jump into any attack.
From the start, the pace was pretty high. I believe Shawn was in an early break which was solid but the wind was a factor on the finishing stretch which made the breaks tough to last. Gustavo and Stu were also flying around in attacks near the halfway point in the race but again, a break was tough in the windy conditions. I was in the pack most of the race trying to save for a sprint finish so I really didn’t have a great idea of what was happening in the attacks. Probably something to work on but for now I was marking other sprinters and asking Victor what was happening when I was near him. The pace in the pack was quite manageable so I wasn’t working too much.
With 5 laps to go, the pace started to pick up and the bumping began to escalate. Shawn, Victor, Adam and I tried to organize but it was tough to stay near each other. With 2 laps to go, I was on Victor’s wheel and we were doing our best to stay up front. Victor showed his experience in battling for position up front. I can only describe his moves as “pinballing” his way through traffic and being very stubborn about getting through the voids. By doing this, he would create a “wake” for me right behind him and thus I didn’t have to fight quite as hard. That being said, it was a bit close for comfort in the final 2 laps. Most corners were spent leaning against and being leaned on by another’s handlebars. We kept fighting and fighting and on the 2nd to last corner, Bahati was just ahead of Victor and he was also being very physical with the CashCall lead out to keep them on their toes. Bahati made a move left and got a bit tangled with another rider before that corner and Victor was unnerved, remaining close and fast into the final 2 corners. We exited the final corner intact and only a few lengths behind the front wheels. Just after the last corner Victor was mashing and I yelled for him to “Go Go Go” and he did so. By this time the lead riders were about to jump and I was coming hot off Victor’s wheel. Victor got me right to their back wheels as they had jumped and I proceeded to drive my pedals into the ground as though my life depended on it. In seconds I felt as though I had beat the crowd and was now more isolated. I could see that I was sprinting for the final spot on the podium which gave me excitement in that moment. I was able to stay in front of the others and maintain the gap from Rahsaan/Williams to finish 3rd. Unfortunately, Justin Williams and Rahsaan Bahati need to be outmatched from start to finish of a sprint and we were just a touch too far behind them at sprints start…maybe a half or full bike length away. So the contest for the win was only slightly out of reach, but very close. Unbelievable, considering Victor’s lone wolf, lengthy leadout. Can’t say enough about it.
In any case, it was a very exciting day and race for us. Hats off to everyone in the race as we were all quite active throughout. We did our best to have as many guys up front in the final laps but its a tough racket up there and I, for one, certainly felt endangered in the final laps as it was a very physical push to the end. I know Shawn was around but it was difficult to connect with him in the chaos. That being said, final hats off to Victor for putting his Warrior stamp on the group in the final laps. I was very impressed with what was going on in front of me and his experience was evident. Hopefully Cory’s GoPro will visually illustrate, and/or correct, my synopsis here. Please look for the video and send the link if you find it.
Final thanks to everyone and thanks to LaGrange for all the support at the race and through the social media(s) thereafter. Very cool day and weekend. Oh and [SPOILER ALERT] we also had 3 guys in a winning break the following day. Not bad, LG.