Folsom Cyclebration was the last race I had on the calendar for the 2011 road season. It has a time trial and criterium on day one and a circuit race on day two. It was a nice change driving only 20 minutes to get to the time trial compared to the 2-3 hours I spend in the car driving to other Nor Cal races. The course for the time trial was a slightly longer version of the course used in the local 10 mile Tuesday Night TT’s that I attend regularly so I was well prepared. Unfortunately there was way more wind than usually. For the first half of the race, the wind was at my back and I was doing everything I could to spin my 52x14 as fast as possible. When I went through the turn around and began to head back to the finish, the wind was now going straight into my face. The last two miles were the most miserable two miles of my life but I was able to set a fast enough time for 9th (and after uploading it to Strava, I also set a new PR on the Tuesday Night Course!). Craig Roemer put up a really good time and took 2nd behind Justin Rossi.
Later that afternoon, we headed over to the criterium and met up with Jack Maddux and Matt Valencia. It was Jack’s first ever Pro/1/2 race and he had no problem racing with the big boys. He even got into a couple breakaways! I felt really comfortable at the head of the peloton and got into a couple breaks but nothing stuck. With about 8 laps to go, I found myself in the winning break. We built up a decent gap over the field and with about 4 laps to go, I was getting nervous that we would get pulled back so I kept pulling on the front to keep our gap from coming down. With two laps to go, the attacks started going right and left up the road but nobody could get away. In the sprint to the finish, I got boxed in between a couple riders and a very muddy gutter and had to settle for 6th, which is by far the best result I have ever gotten in a Pro/1/2 crit. I also went from 9th overall all the way to 4th overall behind Jonathan Teeter, Rand Miller, and Justin Rossi.
The next day, I headed down to the circuit race and met up with the rest of the team. The course was a 4-kilometer loop with some tight corners and a roundabout. The plan was to get me into a break or let a break with no GC threats go up the road. In the first 15 minutes of the race, three guys that were further down on GC broke away and built a pretty large gap over the field. Craig, Matt, and Jack did a great job controlling the field and covering moves. Halfway through the race, attacks began to come from Jonathan, Rand, and Justin but nothing was getting away. I tried to counterattack there moves but I was always chased down immediately. With one to go, Craig took a flyer off the front to keep the pace high. With a kilometer to go, I worked my way up to the front to set myself up for the sprint and ended up 9th on the stage. I finished ahead of Justin though so that put me into 3rd overall for the final general classification.
I could not have asked for a better way to end my road season. It was great to have teammates out there riding in support of me at a somewhat hometown race and grab my best ever Pro/1/2 result. Awesome work by Craig, Matt, and Jack!
Up next: Cyclocross!