What an eventful last couple days! We’ve got a victory and a few bike issues to work out. So there are a few things before today’s crit.
prepping for TTStage 1. The 7km time trial up a 6% grade went fairly smooth, aside from Travis flatting his 23mm race tire with 10 min to race and when swapping my 25mm found out it was rubbing on metal number-plate holder. Some adrenalin rush with last minute fixing and he was off to one of his best efforts to date! Must be learning from the best! ( -me, if anyone seen me get ready for the races, haha)
Team Jet Fuel - Tire Change
Best time for the team was of course from the one and only, time trialing machine, Ryan Roth, in 9th place. Drop the gradient by 6.1% and I’m sure he’d be winning this!
Stage 2. I’ve heard all kind of things about this course, riddled with crashes every year, guys airlifted to the hospitals and etc. Well? It didn’t disappoint, I could see how that happens every year. Five minutes into the race and all I was concerned about is making in one piece to the finish line. Well, I made it to the line in one piece alright….

The course is very narrow in sections, starting off by zig-zag-ing through crosswinds, guttered to the metal barriers, then making a left corner through the road divided by pylons left with absolutely no turning radius, entire field of 150 was cutting the corner and weaving through about 20 of these pylons, fighting each other for position. Picture that! Slam the brakes, few guys down, sprint, 5 seconds later slam the brakes again, skid, tires exploding, guys down. What mess. Not to mention the street furniture in the middle of the roads, curb islands, gates and ticket booths that we were supposed to take on the right side through one-car-width lanes, but of course everyone sprawls across entire road taking every path possible and over the yellow line that supposed to be ‘enforced’, jumping curbs, entire field passing on both side of upcoming cars stopped in the middle of the road, guys going off for a stroll into grass park fields and etc. Anyway, you get the picture. I personally never seen anything like it. It took me three 11km laps (out of 10 total, instead of original 12 that were reduced due to post-earthquake dam inspection delay that happened mid-race earlier in the day) to find my way to the front, mainly leaning that I don’t have to ride like a good boy and there is no enforcement where you ride what so ever this race. By the 5th lap I have leaned the way to navigate through the course and when to move up to be in perfect position for the short, but technical approach of the KOM climb. I saw a number riders splitting again off the front on the rolling sections and I made sure I moved up before the climb feeling that it’s about to get hard. As I surged past the group into the corner and into the downhill I noticed the head of the group was slowing and it so happened I end up slingshotting right past the group and chasing the break alone on the downhill in my under-the-seat-tack pedal technique.

Team Jet Fuel PelotonMoments later came by Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home) and Sergei Tsvetkov (Jelly Belly) barging by. Barely catching their wheel to hold on, we bridged to the break right before the KOM hill… 10-20 min of total agony surviving the bridge, the hill, the surges and attacks, the break finally decided to settle-in and propel in a friendly manner. The rest was history, and to my surprise we still had 2:20 gap on the field with 1 lap to go. There were some attacks on last lap and I was feeling the onset of cramps already. Honestly my goal was to hang on to the break through attacks and the final climb at this point, never did I think that 200m to go that I’d be flying past the whole bunch as if they were standing.

In disbelieve I tossed one hand in the air, and in thoughts of lifting the other I quickly came to realization that there is absolutely no where to go – there are photographers all across the road jumping in all directions and doing the ‘football style’ fake-moves. From 66 to 0 km/h in 4 seconds – I found myself on the ground laying under the truck after colliding with a camera man, bouncing off the car, and simultaneously run over by a rider behind me. I got away with just bruises, minor cuts and road rush. The guy behind me had a solid gash on the forehead, probably needing stitches. As I was laying on the ground first thing I noticed was half of the carbon fork… it said Specialized.
You’d think organizers and photographers would learn after putting on a race for so many years that racers can’t stop in 20 meters after a full-out Sprint?

Hard to be mad however after my biggest win to date. Bloody, on the ground, I was still all smiles!

Submitted by of Team Norco Jetfuel