Report: Santa Barbara Country Road Race

Team SDBC/Emerald Textiles p/b UC Cyclery was represented in the Santa Barbara Country Pro/1/2 road race by Logan Hunter Bass, Kenyon Ralph, and Chris Besaw. The UC-Santa Barbara cycling team hosted the 6 lap, 85 mile, 3,800 vertical foot road race which was shortened 1 lap to 70 miles 3,200 vertical feet due to an unfortunate crash in the sprint finish of the Cat-3 race. The finish was moved from the original location which was after the descent coming down the Dominion climb (on a slight uphill riser) to 6 miles later on a narrow flat road for the last 5 or so miles. The P/1/2 race was well attended with 64 pre-registered, with more day-of starters. Being the first road race of the season, it was sure to be hotly contested.

The blue skies and sunshine were out with temperatures floating between 60-75° F for the race which started at 1:30pm. The first lap was pretty mellow with a 3 guys initiating a breakaway that had 2 chasers. The peloton was soft pedaling for a bit leading into lap 2, letting the gap to the breakaway get close to 2 minutes.

Logan told Chris that he would be working for him this race. Midway through the second lap, Logan moved to the front and began to set the pace at the bottom of the Dominion climb to keep the break within striking distance. He stayed on the front with multiple attacks coming from the field on the descent and into the rolling crosswind section for about 15 minutes, keeping the field together while gaining time on the break.

The climb on Lap 4 was tough but no real threatening move came until Inno (Zavyalov), The Premium Russian (racing for Elevate KHS Pro Cycling), attacked the field in the rolling crosswind section after the descent with one other rider, Brandon Baker. Logan saw that it was Inno who went up the road and knew it was a threat since Inno was a top 10 GC rider in the Pro/1 Cascade Cycling Classic at the end of the 2016 season. Riders began moving up on the left side of the peloton, and Logan took the free ride with Chris on his wheel. On a slight rise in the crosswind section, Logan put in an all-out attack to get separation from the field and bring Chris up to Inno and Brandon. Shortly after, one other rider bridged up and the break was 5 people, including Logan and Chris with about 18 miles left in the race.

Logan told Chris to rotate with the group, but to not put in too much work as Chris needed to be fresh for when Inno would attack and go for the solo win. The break was unsure if the original 3-man break was up the road still, and the moto rode up the road to confirm that they were indeed the front. The break had a decent but not yet comfortable gap as they passed the feed zone to start the last 14-mile lap. Logan was putting in more work than Chris in the break, making it known he was not riding for himself. The official on the motorbike had gone ahead and parked on the side of a road on the right. Logan was redlined so much that he turned right on that road, instead of going straight and staying on the course. He had to slow down and make a u-turn while Inno and Brandon were able to keep moving forward with the reduced gap. The damage was done. The break would be absorbed in a couple minutes due to Logan’s loss of attention, and the field attacking each-other once they realized the break was almost caught.
Chris stayed near Logan as he apologized to Inno for taking a wrong turn, sabotaging what should have been the winning break. Immediately afterwards, a couple guys attacked and Inno gave Logan the head nod as if to say, “Hey that’s racing. Let’s get back to it.” Logan attacked and brought Chris with him to get up to the 2 guys who had just gotten a small gap. Logan looked back and noticed the field was sitting up, letting them have a little gap knowing there was 12 miles left in the race with the climb was about to start in a few miles. The 2 guys in the break were trying to motivate Chris and Logan to work right away, probably not realizing they were in the last break. Logan reminded Chris that he would drive the break, and that his job was to try and stay as fresh as possible for the finish. As the break of 4 approached the climb, Logan was feeling tired from putting in some big pulls to help establish the break. A LaGrange rider solo bridged up to the 4-man break as the climb was about to begin, and the moto informed the riders that they had a 30 second gap. Chris told Logan his calf was cramping up pretty badly.

The break stayed together through the steep part of the climb and the moto told the break that they still had a 30 second gap. Logan knew it was time for him to get back to the front and drive the break on the descent through the crosswind to the off camber right hand turn. He got his speed up at the top of the descent, sat on the top tube to recover a bit knowing it was time to drop the hammer. Chris was able to stretch his calf out and feel a little bit better. With everyone rotating, Logan took the majority of the workload through the rolling crosswind section. The 5-man break hit the beginning of the cross tailwind section after the off camber right hander, maintaining their 30-40 second gap on the field.

The moto informed us that if we kept this speed up, one of us would be winning this race. One of the riders attacked the break from 2.5-3 miles out. Logan kept as much power down as he could, trying to reel the solo rider back. When he got close, Logan had Chris attack to close the remainder of the gap. Meanwhile, Logan had sat up gapping off one of the breakaway riders. After a hard ride for the last 20 miles, Chris was able to put out 400 watts for a minute to get on the solo rider’s wheel while the gapped off rider towed Logan back up. Chris then immediately attacked one more time, from about a minute out, putting out an even more impressive 470-watt effort with a peak of almost 900 watts to cross the line for his first Pro/1/2 win at 30mph.

Overall, it was a great race and an amazing display of teamwork by the SDBC/Emerald Textiles p/b UC Cyclery 1/2 team. Logan put in a ton of work to keep Chris sheltered and Kenyon did his best to disrupt the chase in the peloton. It was also the very first time to test out our team equipment in real race conditions, the Specialized Venge, and Spinergy Z-Lite wheels. A big shout out to our team sponsors UC Cyclery, Specialized, Spinergy, as well as our title sponsor Emerald Textiles. Thank you for your support!

Last week, teammate Daniel Zitter took 2nd place at the CBR Crit. Now with the first win of the season, the team is off to a great start.

By Chris Besaw and Logan Hunter Bass

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