Welp, after 6 1/2 months of racing I found myself at my last scheduled race of the season, the local favorite San Ardo Road Race. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm not great at road racing, actually I'm horrible. My last two RRs have been a DNP and a DNF however San Ardo's course favored a rider who could save some legs for a punchy finish, if I had a shot at a good finish this would be it. Located about 30 mins. north of Paso, San Ardo is a little town with hardly any residents, all the cyclist that were there race day probably doubled the population of the town that day but I won't remember San Ardo for the size, I will always remember San Ardo as the goat head capital of California, no joke.. There was millions. As I sat in line for my race to start I mentally prepared myself for this 70 mile race and I knew if I sat in and played my cards right I might have a shot at not getting dropped for once in a RR. Lap one was filled with half-hearted attempts to break away but nothing really serious, the peloton wasn't about to let anyone get away for more then a couple seconds; oh yea I had to pee badly too. Lap 2 was much more interesting, with a touch of wheels a Stanford and UCSB rider crashed going about 26-27mph, I narrowly missed it, Ross was a concerned I was caught up in it but I have him a thumbs up and we knew everything was A okay. This really shook me up because aren't RRs suppose to be safe?? About 4 miles after the initial crash the rider I was marking flatted out, making me even more paranoid. Lap three was just full of surges and apparently another crash (that happened behind me). With about 12 miles to go Bolthouse and Sunfolk started to gain control of the tempo on the front. Being that it was only me and my teammate Ross I felt that we didn't have the horsepower to start to move up to the front so early so I just kept sitting it. Now getting down to the last 4 miles I was paralyzed, the whole lane was taken up, no moving up unless you wanted to get DQ-ed for crossing the centerline. 1.5 miles to go we hit the base of the kicker that resembled about 3/4s of rattle snake at around 23mph, I was still pretty far back. Only until we were about 250m on the climb did the attacks start. I was on the line next to the centerline trying to find a way around because my legs felt great. Another 250 and it was madness, people were dropping like flies, I saw an opportunity on the left and cut of somebody pretty badly and rode on the centerline passing at least 20 guys, unfortunately 3 guys got off the front already and made the left to the finish. Now I was looking at a possible top 5 finish! I got out of the saddle after the left hand turn and my legs screamed for me to sit down and with only like 200m left I caught 4th place but got pipped at the line by a guy behind me so I settled for 5th; a great way to finish the season. I rode a smart race and I was rewarded for it with a great finish, a tshirt, and 3 more upgrade points. Doesn't get much better then that!
Thank you to all my family, friends, teammates, and sponsors for all their support in my 2nd full season of road racing. I hope next season is just as successful if not more successful.