Chad Beyer had another good weekend at the 2015 Valley of the Sun stage race. Here’s the report:
The Valley of the Sun Stage Race starts out with a long, flat, out-and-back TT. Time trials are my weakest area so I didn’t know what to expect. I ended up losing about 2 minutes to the winner Daniel Eaton. I was disappointed in my ride, but I guess that just means I need to spend more time on the TT bike! Luckily, my Superissimo teammate Paul Thomas had a great ride and ended up 5th.
It seemed like anything could happen in the road race. Daniel Eaton only had one teammate to help him defend the lead against a pretty solid field. There were two full teams that came prepared to race, KHS and Elevate. Attacks started from the gun and it was immediately evident Daniel was prepared to do everything he could to defend the lead. The attacks kept coming and on the second lap a solid group broke the elastic to the field. I saw it happening and followed a rider across. It ended up being a group of 12 riders. Elevate had three riders including Heath Blackgrove, KHS had two including Chris Barton who was sitting in 2nd on GC and was the leader on the road.
Everyone was willing to work from the start. It wasn’t a great move for my team, SUPERISSIMO since I was missing my teammate Paul Thomas who was 5th on GC. I did minimal work in hopes he could bridge across. As the race progressed it became clear the break was going to stick. At that point, I needed to come up with a solid strategy. The break became unorganized and attacks started to fly on the second to last lap. A group of about 6 riders broke free from the rest. I made it into the front split and decided to throw down on the climb going into one lap to go. Heath Blackgrove from team Elevate and Brian McCulloch from KHS were the only riders able to follow.
Heath looked at me and said “you just dropped those guys,” I said “I know lets go,” he replied ”you know there’s still a whole lap to go,” I said “I know, we’ve got this” he said “S!*$ you must be feeling good”. I was. Heath and I went pull for pull the enitre last lap with the KHS rider in tow. We couldn’t have gone any harder that last lap. It was awesome to have a rider like Heath willing and able to ride like that on the last lap. As we approached the last climb I told Heath I wanted the win and, knowing he had GC wrapped up, he said he would help me. I was worried about the KHS rider, while he did his share of hard work earlier in the break he was able to sit on the last lap while Heath and I were deep in the pain cave. With 1km to go Heath did a solid pull and brought us to 200 meters to go with good speed. I jumped as hard as I could and I had the legs to take the sprint. I was pumped. That ride moved me up to second on GC as well. Next up was the crit.
I was sitting 2nd on GC 41 seconds back and I knew it would be almost impossible to over take Heath in a 70 min crit. But I was there to race and so were my Superissimo teammates Thomas Jondall and Paul Thomas. We decided we would give it what we had to get me in a good break and give it a go. Elevate took control at the front right from the start and it seemed like a group of 5 couldn’t get more than 100 meters off the front without them shutting it down. Thomas Jondall was able to force a good move of about 5 riders off the front. Paul Thomas then did a solid launch and got me across with one other rider. It was a break of about 6 and Daniel Eaton was there giving it his all. Everyone in the break was going all in and we were pulling away from the field. We built up an advantage of about 15 seconds and for a brief time it looked like it might be possible for us to stay away. But then the effort wore heavy and the break began to fall apart and. We were all swallowed up by the field with about 6 laps to go. With about 2 laps remaining KHS took control on the front from Elevate and did a solid lead out and were able to go 1st and 2nd with Chris Barton taking the win.
All in all it was an awesome race. Valley of the Sun is a great race to see where that early season form is and make necessary adjustments in preparation for the races to come. It was nice to see a solid field line up and race hard. I hope even more people take advantage of what this race has to offer in the future. Big Thanks to my teammates and the people behind the scenes at Superissimo. And Big thanks to the Valley of the Sun race organizers for putting on a solid event. Personally I’m very happy with where my form is currently, I’ve got some work to do on the TT, but I definitely feel like I’m on a good track.