Saturday was the Napa Gran Prix in Napa, CA which is where I live. It's my hometown race and I finished 6th last year in the category 3's field. In Saturday's racing, all the races except the pro/1/2 race was a win-n-out, which mean the 1st person to cross the line with 4 laps to go finishes 5th place and is neutralized is done with his/her race. This goes with 3 laps to, 2,1, and the final sprint for 1st place.
I raced the category 2's race with Eamon Lucas. There were many attacks going up the road, but none stick very well on the short .4 mile course. It got mostly back together until Eamon followed an attack and he got in a break of 3 up the road. With Eamon on his own, on the front, I knew I had to be at the front to follow any possible bridges up to that group. Eamon stayed away the rest of the race, and with the win-n-out situation, he finished 4th. I was still in the pack, but laps were going by very quickly in these closing laps...so quickly that I did see a 2 lap to go sign. I found my self way too far back with 1 lap to go. I went straight to the front, caught the front group in the head wind section before the U-turn and the finish and sprinted for the win. I finished just about 3/4 of a bike length behind the winner and now with not winning the sprint, it resulted me to finishing with a did not place (DNP).
I then raced the pro/1/2 race with my dad (Dean LaBerge) and it was very fun for my dad to watch that day. I was at the very front all day, until Nate English and a Metromint rider got a good gap and nobody was wanting to chase. I attacked and got the field all strung out, and as I went around the U-turn I heard a crash behind me. It was the guy right behind me; the field was stopped. I knew this was my chance to go solo across and I did. I caught up with the breakaway riders and started working together with them to increase our lead. Meantime, my dad is following any surges or attacks, making sure nobody else gets up the road to join me. Our gap increased to as much as 20 seconds and we knew with 5 laps to go, that we were going to stay away. All I could think of is winning the race because no junior has won a pro/1/2 race since Taylor Kuphaldt, and we has a very strong junior. We kept on working together, until 1-2 laps to go. Nate chose to drive it around half the course, before the head wind and the U-turn. And as I got around the turn, I made my move in the head wind, got around the U-turn, and sprinted as hard as I can because I wanted to make no mistake in losing this race, even though I didn't see anyone when I looked back. I had won my 1st pro/1/2 race!! And the best thing about it was that my dad was able to see it from the back side of the course when I won! My dad took 4ht place in the race.
It was a great day for the team overall as Eamon took 4th in the cat 2's, Chris LaBerge took 3rd in the cat 3's, Dean won the 35+ race, Larry and Kevin took 2nd and 4th, respectively in the 45+. Just overall a great day for the team! And I still can't believe I had won my 1st pro/1/2 race! Just can't thank the sponsors enough for how much they help support our team! Thanks for reading!