Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dash for Cash - Pleasanton, CA

"Woke up quick, at about noon, just thought that I had to be at..." ok, really 8am (Eazy E reference)

Anyway, I packed my bag up and hopped on the BART out to Pleasanton, CA for the Dash for Cash Criterium. I was in for a big day, Cat 3 race at 11:55am and then the Pro/1/2/3 at 1:55pm. This was a very cool race set-up...large rectangle with a nasty cross-wind on a super bumpy road (the rest of the roads were in great condition). Every 5 laps was a set $40 prime (hence: Dash for Cash).

We had a very strong 3's team in there, Aaron, Carmi, Dino, Gabe, Murat and myself. This was a 60-minute race. Murat went off the front a few times, racing a very aggressive start of the race, while the rest of us patrolled the front. At one point just after one of the prime laps, I wanted to keep the pace hot and got on the front. After pulling for a bit I found myself off the front solo (crap...anyone who knows me knows I don't like being off the front solo...no one should like that!) I stayed off hoping for some breakaway partners, but no one bridged so I came back in. With about 3 to go, Carmi took a well-executed flyer off of the front and held it with a break partner till 1 to go. It was a great move for us, because it caused the rest of the teams to chase hard and keep the pace up, while we just sat in good position without getting swarmed. Everyone said to be 10-15th in the final turn and you can win the long drag to the line, so that's exactly where Aaron and I ended up. It was on and I felt great, with Aaron on my wheel. We hit it hard and just when I could taste victory, the guys in front of me gave up and got very slow...we were boxed in and I was pissed. Pulled off 13th with Aaron just behind me somewhere. On the other side of the road, my teammate Gabe was in a much faster group and he killed it for 8th. We were all very happy with the race...hey...top ten!

Now we had a 1 hour break before the P/1/2/3 race. Jan picked up some race radios for us (he was thrilled to have more than 1 other teammate in his race). Jan, Aaron and myself got wired up and Dan had the radio on the side-line to bark orders. Murat, Gabe, Carmi, Dino and Chris were also there.

P/1/2/3...75 minutes...135 starters. A couple pro's, but mainly just a strong Nor-Cal 1/2 field. I was a bit nervous and it showed...took me about 5 tries to get clipped in (embarrassing). It was fast and due to my crappy clip in, I could barely see the front. Dan was chirping over the radio "Angelo, you need to move up...Angelo, you need to move up...etc). I sort of fluctuated between the front and back 1/3rd of the field. I was fast and much smoother than the 3's race. I found it easiest to move up on the two main straights (the bumpy cross/head wind one and the start/finish straight)...this might have been the reason my power was draining towards the end. I saw our Cat 2 rider (Jan) in the back 1/3rd with me when we were at 5 laps to go. I wasn't feeling too hot at this point so I asked him if he wanted me to pull him up to the front and that's what we did at about 3 to go...this killed me and I was popped off of the pack 1/2 way through the final lap. Jan ended up sprinting like a pro and took 3rd place! All of us 3's stayed in till the end, except for Dino and Gabe, who got caught up in a crash with 4 to go...so yeah, they made it too in my book. Of the 135 starters, only 75 finished. I'm very happy with my result (finished)!

Here are a couple photos from the P/1/2/3 race:
Here's one of Jan just after taking 3rd on the far right (Rock Racing just hitting the line)

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