Photo Credit: Danny Munson
Team KHS-Maxxis p/b JAKROO raced the California Bicycle Racing Series Criterium on Sunday in the Carson, CA. We had 5 guys for the race – Fabrizio Von Nacher, Brian McCulloch, David Santos, Cory Williams and myself. Being naturally hungry for another win as well as wanting to work on some various team tactics, we decided to ride aggressively. We were aiming for a breakaway with a minimum of 2 KHS riders represented.
The course was the famed four-turn criterium route, with a duration of 75 minutes and as one of my teammates noted, “so, we are turning right today”. The race started off as we planned with attacks coming from David and Brian. The day was a rather windy affair, and with the course profile being that of steady flat terrain, drafting becomes ever more critical because the speeds are very high. This began what we in cycling call ‘The Welding Convention’. This basically means that as one rider or multiple riders attack, other riders essentially grab the wheel in front of them as fast as possible, slipping onto their slipstream and conserving energy. We knew this would take place early on and that no other teams would really let a group of riders go up the road. We hoped that with persistency we could break the will of the group and earn the breakaway we were looking for via aggressive riding.
There were multiple breakaways and splits in the main field throughout. Fabrizio Von Nacher, David Santos, and myself either initiating, following, or counter-attacking anything that seemed suspicious. As a teammate in the peloton, having been brought back after an attack, looking up the road, I can not remember a time during the race when Brian McCulloch was not in the move. There were attacks that I was with Brian, we were brought back by the field, and then he was off the front again. It was really awesome to see how strong our riders are when they are given the GO to ride hard.
After numerous attempts at trying to make the breakaway stick, the race was entering the 60 minute mark and it appeared that is was working. Gaps were opening, the field was in three different groups at times, and a rather large group had finally created a significant gap after David had countered a move that had Brian and one other rider involved. This split had solid team representation of Socalcycling, Surf City Cycling, RockForm, and 2 KHS riders! But with the lack of cooperation from the large group and the racers ambition in the peloton, this move would be brought back as well. At this point, it was feeling like the race was inevitably going to finish in a field sprint.
Once again, Brian was on the move and David was with him. Soon there were a few other guys up the road, with Charon Smith, a Surf City rider bridging across to the breakaway. This left myself, Corey Williams, and Fabrizio as well as the Surf City team in the field, certainly not willing to chase down their own team up the road. This break would almost be caught on the final lap and Fabrizio and Corey were lined up, ready for their shot at the finish if it were all to come together.
With the help of Brian, David was dropped off in good position coming around the final corner, but the seasoned sprinter Charon Smith created a gap with his quick sprint and it was too much for Dave to come around. David finished on the podium in 3rd, with Fabrizio Von Nacher and Corey Williams rounding out the top 10 respectively.
Behind the scenes:
Something that not everyone gets to experience, see, or appreciate is the little things that go on behind the scenes of our team. Yes, we raced hard, had fun, and did our jobs. But it is the intangibles that I am thankful for. After the race, all the other riders had gone home, the CBR crew cleaned the course and jetted off. We as a team got together and talked shop. This happens at the conclusion of all of our races. Five lawn-chairs filled with teammates and our director Paul Abrahams asking the important questions. This is where we really learn as bike racers. These are the moments where we all get better. Accountability is high when everyone is not afraid to ask the hard questions. This is where I am thankful to be a part of this program because at the end of the day, we do not go our separate ways. We reflect, ask questions, and learn. We are expected to ride and race at 100% focus and effort, but not expected to know every answer to every situation. The teaching level and patience within this team is remarkable and these are the reasons why this program has been such a success and why all of us will continue to get better!
It was a solid weekend of results. A great weekend of effort put forth, and another weekend to learn and get better.
Joy McCulloch finished 3rd in the women’s P1/2/3 race, adding to the teams podium count for the weekend!
Thank you KHS, Maxxis, JAKROO Custom Apparel, Shimano, Serfas, Hammer Nutrition, Rudy Project, IRT Wheels, Xpedo, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Rennie & Associates, Q2, Bike Religion, Chamois Butter, WD-40 Bike, Bicycle Blue Book and the Management of IPA sports.