The official blows the whistle and we are off. The race went off to a slow start with a few accelerations on the flats before hitting the climbs of Bakersfield. Since the weather was about 90 degrees, we were set off on a race of attrition over the next 100 miles. Once we got to the climb on the first lap, the attacks began. Shaun VanGassen, my teammate from the SoCalCycling.com / Echelon Design Team, attacked with a few riders, which alerted the peloton and strung out the group. Once I saw the rest of the pack slowing down to a tempo pace, I decided to attempt and bridge the gap without taking any other riders with me, however the attempt failed. A couple of riders went with me on the move, so I eased back into the main group. A junior rider from team Surf City Cyclery then made a move, and the group was completely strung out. We eventually ended up catching the breakaway before the end of the first climb. As we headed up and over the climb to turn left down into the valley, about half the peloton was already off the back.
The descents going down into the valley were fast, but not technical, so the group of riders who went over the top of the first climb stayed together. Coming out of the valley, a few riders dropped off the back due to a high tempo on a steep section of the climb. On the second lap there was a big selection on the first climb. The selection ended in six CashCall riders and Tom Soladay from the Optum Pro Cycling pb Kelly Benefit Strategies team in the break.
I was in the second group chasing on the second and third laps, however I was dropped on the third lap going up the first climb. The pace on each of the climbs was very consistent in speed, which made for a difficult race. By the end of the third lap my legs had cried enough is enough, and I decided to pull out of the race. Eventually. the second chase group had caught up with the breakaway and Brian McCulloch from CashCall who was originally in the second group, road in solo to win the race. The weather and the tempo of the race were so extreme that well over half the riders dropped out of the race.
By Jeff Pettis, SoCalCycling.com / Echelon Design Team