For the first time this season I got to travel south for a race instead of north to LA, for the Adrenaline SoCal Circuit Race in Chula Vista. After completing a 6-day stage race the week before in Mexico with lots of heat, climbing, and u-turns, I was feeling well prepared for this tough circuit race course.
A good sized group showed up to contest the Men’s Pro 1/2 race, with racers from across the border as well as the locals. The SoCalCycling.com Team was represented with only myself, Tyler Locke, and new addition Ronnie Toth. But that was okay because for what we lacked in numbers, we made up for in quality and none of the other teams had the numbers to dominate the race either. With this in mind, and the “Mexican” racing style, we knew that the right break could go in the first few laps.
Sure enough it did. After an attack from the gun by teammate Ronnie that softened the field the counter attack was the one that stuck. The move initially included 9 riders with all of the major teams (SoCalCycling.com Team, TrueU, Spy-Giant, Incycle / Predator, Monster Media, and Jamis-Hagens) represented as well as most of the firepower going up the road. For what we lacked in cohesiveness we made up for in strength when establishing the break and once we gained a comfortable gap we settled in and worked smoothly together.
The next hour and a half was uneventful and painful. All of us in the break dutifully took our pulls and put more time into the field. There were bridge attempts in the field, but unless you were something special you weren’t getting across to our 8-man time trial train.
With 3 laps to go the messing around began. I think I was the first to stop pulling. It seemed some riders in the break were content to pull all the way to the line despite our huge gap over the field (and I had no problem with that), so we were still all together with one lap to go. Coming out of the penultimate U-turn me and a Spy-Giant rider put in a dig but it wasn’t enough. Soon after his teammate attacked and there was some hesitation. As we neared the final U-turn, the rider still held a precarious gap but that quickly opened up as he took the turn and kept going.
I took one final pull in hopes of forming a last minute chase, but when the rider on my wheel didn’t pull through it was clear that we would be racing for 2nd. As we slowed Diego Sandoval of Incycle / Predator put in an acceleration. When he sat up and drifted to the right I took the chance to shoot up the right side right as he was closing the door giving me just enough time to establish a gap and make it a drag race for the last 500 meters to the line.
I just barely held off the sprinters to grab 2nd, with Guy East (TrueU) taking 3rd and the Spy-Giant rider, Chris Johnson, taking the victory off the front.
It was a fun race and a hard course and I hope they have it again next year.
Thank you to all of our sponsors – SoCalCycling.com – Your Cycling Source, Craig Shelly, Cannondale Bicycles, Sugoi Performance Apparel, FULL SPEED AHEAD, Pacific Premier Bank, ROL Wheels, Clif Bar, fi’zi:k, Echelon Design,Caravan Global, Incycle Bicycles, Continental Tire, ASEA, TRP Brakes, Larsen’s Restaurants, Levi Locke, Michael Klinkenberg.
By Lucas Binder, SoCalCycling.com Team
Photo by Frank Sarate, SoCalCycling.com