Race reports are always more fun to write when everything goes your way and you come out on top, but that’s not the case with this one. As I sit here typing this with a cold IPA by my side it’s easy to just chalk it up as good training and move on.
Tour de Murrietta is an Omnium(time trial, crit, circuit race), which is a points based stage race. Where as Valley of the Sun and The Tucson Bicycle Classic (and most stage races for that matter) are about having fastest/lowest time after the stages in an Omnium you get a certain amount points based on your finishing position. Tour de Murrietta put a lot more “weight” on the the Crit and Circuit race compared to the TT. Here’s the scoring system:
The weekend started off good. I picked up Chris and we headed to Murrietta for the opening time trial. I was really looking forward to this stage. The time trial was 4.1 miles/6.5k with the final mile mile being a dirt road climb! This was also going to be my first race as a cat 4 so I was ready to see where I stacked up.
Chris getting ready to enter the pain cave!
my warm up set up:
Stage 1 – Time Trial – 10:48 – 1st in Category – 20 points
I was the second to last cat 4 to go. I got in a really good warm up and was ready to go. I bolted out of the start gate but tried to not overdue it in the first couple of miles, which is kind of what I did the week prior in Tucson. I felt good over the rollers on the road section but didn’t feel like was going “fast”. I caught two riders ahead of me before the dirt road. when I got to the dirt road I nailed it. I passed another guy and was riding well. I hit one rock pretty hard and my bar shifted a bit point down, but it didn’t slow me down much. I was taking some chances and came really close to going down in one corner. I crossed the line pretty smashed, but was stoked to have the fastest cat 4 time of the day.
I really wish I would have pre-ridden the course because I KNOW i have a faster time in me on the that course.
Stage 2 – Grand Prix – 12th – 19 points – 3rd in GC after race
Saturday morning was the Grand Prix (crit) in down town Murrietta. I was a pretty cool course with quite a few tight turns and big field. In the past couple of (time-based) stage races I have just had to ride in defense of the leaders jersey and make sure nobody made up any time on me. Not the case in an Omnium. It was important to try and finish in the top 10 if possible.
warm up day 2.
The pace started out pretty quick and I would lying if I said I wasn’t a little gun shy at first. This was my first crit since my crash and first in the 4’s. With the tight corners there was a lot of sketchy riding and quite a few crashes. I rode safe and hovered between front & mid pack. The pace was faster but I was still able to get the front when I wanted to. I was hoping to try to get a way at some point but it didn’t happen. There were no legitimate attacks or breaks. With 3 to go it started to get dicey so with 2 to go I went to front and tried to string it out. With 1 to go one of the Jessup brothers (who i rode with in palm springs a couple weeks ago) came around me and attacked. perfect! I stayed on the front and let him get a gap through the frist couple of turns. my plan was to let him get away and then make a move to bridge to him and hopefully get away into the final turns.
my plan was working but when I got to his wheel he kind of slowed up and soon enough the group was right behind us but I was in good position. I was third wheel going into the final two turns before the finishing straight…. well that is until some guy bulldozed the corner. he came up on my left in the fast left turn and almost took me out. I had to hit my breaks and several riders came by on my right. I was now around 20th. fantastic! I hammered the final straight and was able to get some spots back and finished 12th.
Stage 3- Circuit Race – 27th – 0 Points
Sunday I was up mega early. 430am and with the time change it was rough. I got the to the race, got on the trainer, and was actually feeling really good. Soon enough I was on the start line and I knew I needed to finish in the top 5 for a chance at winning and even staying on the podium for the overall GC. The course was pretty flat and fast with a couple of rollers and really tight in areas. The centerline rule as in effect for 50% of the race and for the areas it would be easiest to move up. So unless you moved up positions on the long start/finish straight it was a challenge to get to the front.
We had 35 miles ahead of us, 10 x 3.5 mile laps. I rode in the middle of the pack for the first couple of laps and then moved into the top 10 for a couple of laps. I was feeling really good and wanted to make a move at some point. With 6 to go a guy went and i went with him, and when he faded a two more guys rolled. I thought this was going to be a solid move to get away but it was short lived. I continued hover all over the pack, not really to smart. With 3 to go I was on the front and lifting the pace on the rollers.
With 2 laps to go I decided to sit in and recover a bit before the final lap. When a couple guys almost when down in front of me i was pushed back to the mid pack. Somewhere during that lap i kind of spaced out. By the end of the lap I was near the back. With 1 to go the Swami’s team went to the front and was drilling it. I did my best to move up on the long start/finish straight and was able to go from probably the 60’s to the 20’s. Then in the tight turn the guy in front of me almost went down. His pedal came off his crank arm and he was swerving all over the place. great. the group went flying by on our right so I had to chase, and due the centerline rule I was trapped on the back stretch. I made up some spots but couldn’t get to the front. The bummer was I had the legs to get there but there was no room to pass safely. I am not about to make dumb moves and possibly take myself or someone else out in a cat 4 race. It’s not that important.
In the final turns I rode well and got back near the front and in the final sprint finished with the group (same time) but in 27th place and out of the points. That my friends is called SHITTING THE BED! No excuses. Just poor racing and I put myself in the bad position. My disappointment lasted about 30 seconds. It’s bike racing and I am still learning how to race…. and I get a chance to race again next weekend!
Finishing so far back and getting no points knocked me from 3rd place in the GC to 11th. The points system, with so little weight put on the TT, doesn’t suit my strengths. If it had been a time-based race I believe I would have still won by finishing with the same time as the group on saturday and sunday… but it was points based and I blew it! I think I am good enough right now to always finish with the group in these kinds of races but winning them and moving into the top spots is going to take better & smarter racing on my part.
Overall I can bank last weekend as a great weekend of training. Most of the guys I raced were good guys and I had fun. I am stoked for my home boy Chris. After having a disappointing TT and not scoring in the 5’s he rallied to 2nd in the crit & cricuit race to move up to 2nd in the GC. He’ll now be upgrading to the 4’s so I am stoked to start getting on the line with some friends and hopefully working together to “make it happen”.
So i’ll bank this weekend and get ready for the race I have been looking forward to for a long time, The San Dimas Stage Race starting Friday.