Winning isn't everything. No, I'm not getting soft in my old age. Team Specialized has goals of winning many races, but expectations are different. We expect every teammate to give their best effort and sometimes a best effort doesn't earn you the top step of the podium.
Despite not winning today I was very pleased with the efforts of these young men. In the morning race Geoffrey Curran (Surf City) put in an attack with two (2.3 mile) laps to go that set the remaining chasers gasping for air and wondering how they would bring him back. Kyle hung tight to the chase and valiantly chased. He put out such an effort that he was ever so slightly gapped on the final climb and soloed into the finish for 5th place. Tyler Williams (Swift) was 2nd, Alistair Eeckman (Hammer) was 3rd and Ian Moore (Swift) was 4th. Marcus Smith is coming off sickness and fought well to catch back on before being popped on the last lap. Dean was in the chase group and could easily have been frustrated with those that would not help chase, but fought on to work hard and salvage his race. Chris LaBerge is always willing to sacrifice his race for the good of his team and his teammates. I'm always proud of his efforts to chase, get dropped and never give up.
Later in the day, under rare 80 degree weather eight junior 15-16 teammates contested the 75 minute circuit. The plan was to lay low in the first half of the race and then light it up in the 2nd half. Simply put there are few riders that will work, some that choose not to work and most that cannot work for fear that they will get dropped. With that in mind we wanted to attack in the last half of the race. Jack Maddux decided to fly early. Off he went with 2011 USA Cycling National Criterium Champion Ethan Reynolds (BYRDS) putting over 2 minutes on the chase group. Back in the chase group getting a free ride to the finish line were Diego, Nick, Sean, Jason and Matt. Oliver and Jon had already been dropped. From my vantage point in the SRAM support vehicle I was able to watch Jason help chase a group that splintered from our riders when they were neutralized, then I saw Jason go to work again when Nick threw his chain and was hauled back to the chase group. But, Nick was a bit gassed by the next climb and was popped with Matt, but they never gave up and chased back on. Finally, Diego directed Sean to lift the speed in the last 2km so Sean did a great leadout for Diego to take 3rd and Matt take 4th. Nick was 8th and Sean was 12th. Jason finished too after his sacrifices.
Up the road, out of my view was Jack and Ethan sprinting for the Sea Otter win. Jack went a bit early on his sprint and Ethan won the race.
All of our teammates should hold their heads high for the efforts they expended to help each other and trying their very best to win. Winning is very sweet, but sometimes not getting on the top step helps to drive your workouts to the next level. Maybe in time for Nationals?
Thanks for supporting Team Specialized. Tomorrow we are road racing! Cheers, Larry