Its been a while since I’ve written one of these so hang with me. The Giro is one of my favorite races of the year. Not only is the race only a block from the ocean and the embarcadero but its also one of the races that draws a large crowd and there are few things more fun then racing in front of friends and family.
Last year at this race I was very lucky to have a full team of teammates behind me which made my race extremely simple, I just had to sit and let me teammates control the race as I sat and felt lazy behind them, but this year would be a little bit of a different story with me being the only H24 rider in the race. Being a solo rider I had to make a plan and stick to it from the start, I knew that there were enough teams in the race that hopefully nothing would get off the front too early and I could ease into it and just be attentive later in the race. This turned out to be the case with attacks going off the front every lap but nothing had the right composition to stick. Only once did I have to put in a dig to close a gap down to a dangerous move with multiple Mikes’s Bikes, Dolce Vita, and Amain riders in it (almost absolutely destroying myself on some rail road tracks as I did it). As the laps ticked down I told myself to just relax and surf mid pack till 10 laps to go when I would get to the front and get serious. Like clockwork I got to the front at 10 laps to go and immediately double flatted on the rail road tracks in turn two, as I limped back to the pit I realized that I didnt have any back up wheels and I wasnt sure if there were any neutral support. I was very lucky that Chris Phipps happened to be in the pit to save the day and let me use both of his wheels which got me back in the race. As we neared the final I stayed glued to the wheel of two time winner Garrett Hankins (TMB) who had a solid lead out in front of him and I knew as long as I stayed near him I had nothing to worry about. As we went through the start finish for the penultimate time all I was telling myself was “you’re going to win this, no one can stop you” over and over again. Any sprinter can tell you that once you see 1 lap to go in any race you feel no pain and lose all sense of self preservation and as we turned the final corner to start the bell lap everything clicked into place and sprinter mode was engaged. I stayed locked onto the TMB lead out as we powered up the climb for the final time and rocketed towards the final two corners and the finish line. As we neared the final two corners Matt Mikul (Squadra SF) launched his sprint early coming around the final TMB lead out man Andy Goessling, this same move had won him the Suison Harbor Crit only weeks ago so I knew that was the wheel to follow, I put in a big effort to get on his wheel as we neared the final corner. I knew that I had all of the best sprinters on my wheel so I repeated in my head “you’re going to win, you’re going to win” and launched my sprint out of the final corner. As I neared the line and realized that no one was going to come around me and my win-less year filled with injury and stressing over results was over as I posted up and let out yell of joy and relief.
The lap after the race is always my favorite, only a minute ago we were all going full kamikaze trying to win the race and now everyone is patting each other on the back and trading stories of how many times they had almost crashed and made it out alive. When we come through the start finish all the teams are huddles together going over what happened in the race or talking with friends and family. I give Chris his wheels back which he was extremely happy that I didn’t crash and break, and go around chatting with all the friends that make the local scene so great. This year I didn’t get to spend as much time racing locally as I normally do and this race made me remember why I enjoy it so much. Next up is the Jackson crit next weekend and then the Oakland Grand Prix in two weeks which is the district championships and my final race of the year. Looking forward to closing the season out on a high.