Oracle Road Race, 2015
Round three of the Arizona cycling season hit the way-out town of Oracle. Our man on the front Chad Beyer and winner of the event, drops play by play breakdown of the weekend’s race. It didn’t come by work of his own. Team Superissimo threw down game play to make it so. Thank you to the team for making it happen, and from that, the reward was reaped. Excellent work Chad, Jondall, Clayton and EVERYONE on the team.
Thanks SUPERISSIMO, it was a tough race.
It was a solid field that lined up for the Oracle RR. Team Superissimo was represented by Paul Thomas, Thomas Jondall, Clayton Stone, Quinn Keogh, and me. It was the first road race of the year for, I am assuming, everyone. And you could tell some people were ready to race and test their early season form. Attacks started early, and in no time a small group was up the road. Jondall was attentive and followed the next move to bridge across to the front group, but it proved to be unsuccessful. Clayton assumed position at the front and was all over the moves. He found himself in a great move bridging up to the leaders. Paul was looking good, and on the second time up the climb, one of the muy fuerte P&S riders attacked and Paul went after him. Paul almost made it across to the lone rider on his way to one impressive solo bridge to the leaders. I was staying attentive and had my eye on the other hitters in the field. It was their move.
Team Superissimo sat in good position with Clayton in the front group of about 8. P&S was very well represented in the front with 3 riders and this worried me. The break was well out of sight heading into 2 laps (40 miles) to go. If someone was going to make a move it was going to be now. Daniel Eaton started throwing down attacks, and after about 5 of them in a row he and I found ourselves slightly off the front. It was time to put our heads down and break the elastic to the field, which we did.
I found myself in a predicament with Daniel, as I wanted to get up to the break and bolster our team presence at the front, but I also didn’t want to help one of the strongest riders in the race have a easy ride into the winning move. I went pull for pull with him until we were about 20 seconds off the back of the break and let him sew up the rest. It took us almost a whole lap to close the gap down, but we caught the break towards the top of the climb. It was a big effort and my legs were feeling it. Just as we caught the break the P&S riders decided to start attacking like mad. It was one lap to go and who knows how big the gap was to the field. Things settled after a while and we all started working cohesively. The field was definitely not coming back at this point.
So, I began trying to figure out how to win this one. P&S had 3 riders, also there was Daniel Eaton, Matteo DAL-CIN, Conor Mullervy, my teammate Clayton Stone and myself. P&S was looking tough to beat. We hit the climb for the last time and attacks started to fly. Eventually four riders were left standing, including Daniel Eaton, Matteo, Hector Rangel, and myself. I couldn’t believe we just shook off two of the P&S riders. The four of us started rotating well and open up a good gap on the others. I decided to give it all I had so as to not let the race come down to a field sprint. I did a long hard pull to bring everyone’s heart rate up a bit, dropped to the back to wait a couple seconds, and then I hit ‘em hard. Hector was the only one that followed. I put in a good pull and he followed suit. Then he started sitting on and I couldn’t tell if he was going for an Oscar in a Sporting Event or if he was really hurting, so I attacked. He was actually on the ropes. I got a good gap and then put my head down to embrace the pain… it was a lot of pain. It was a long way to the line still and the road became fast and rolling. I was definitely worried about Daniel and Matteo coming back up to me. I just kept my head down and the pressure on the pedals, and sure enough I survived to take the win.
I was very happy with the way our team rode together. Especially Clayton. He had a very strong showing all day, and held on for a top 5 result. As the season progresses the races will get increasingly more difficult and we are looking forward to the challenge! It’s going to be a fun season.