How Sweat a Victory Is!
By Brian McCulloch
We often hear the adage that ‘history does repeat itself’. This past Sunday for the CashCall Mortgage Cycling Team this definitely proved true. This past weekend I was able to enjoy a great racing event put on by the fine folks of California Bicycle Racing. I began my racing career at CBR events so I always like to attend their events. Myself, Chris “The Man Beast” Barton, Devan “GQ Curls” Dunn, and David “The Ninja Ginger” Santos lined up for one of the final SoCal Cup criteriums of the season. Last year at this race our team turned the screws early to the peloton and were able to put together a break away with a few willing participants. Ultimately, we produced a 1-2 result for our team from Santos and me.
Lining up for Sunday’s race, I had hopes of repeating the performance of last year. I was committed to our teams primary objective which could come from any of the four of us: Win the bike race! It can sometimes be easy to ‘over-tactic’ a race and cause confusion, so rather than over complicate the race, the boys and I committed to racing our favorite type of racing… aggressive from the start.
The first fifteen minutes of the race were brutal pace. We were attacking while other riders were playing off us and launching attacks of their own. We responded to the attacks, launching counter attacks of our own and eventually we had split the peloton into a few pieces. The sizeable group at the front of the race was too big to be considered a ‘break-away’, but had all the players that were prepared to race their bikes hard including myself and my three teammates.
It was at this time that we had to continue to apply pressure to the race to get a break-away to roll. Eventually we ended up with a small break-away group consisting of Evan Stade (RockForm) David Santos and me. We had little more than 45 minutes of racing remaining. That’s a long time to stick a break with a small group! Maybe if the group consisted of another time-trialist it would increase the odds, especially with the windy conditions on hand.
It is at this time that I must say how awesome it is to be a part of team of brutally strong athletes. With the odds stacked against the three of us, we were working very hard. It only took a little prodding by our Team Manager Paul Abrahams to get us to dig even deeper. Santos was going so hard in the break-away it was amazing, he was pulling like two riders! I guess that is what happens when you ride with the CA State TT Champ, I should have expected as much.
Back in the field, there were strong riders and teams hitting the front and giving it everything to bring our break-away back. It should be noted that typically break-aways do not out run the field, the field loses time to react and cannot chase down the break. This is where having committed teammates is invaluable. Back in the field, no counter attack or acceleration went without having a CashCall rider on the back step. Barton and Dunn worked unbelievably hard to keep the chasing field at-bay.
As the race wore on there was a time when our break-away stopped gaining time on the field and actually looked like the race may re-shuffle. When this looked to be the case, Santos and I (to his credit, Evan too!) dug in and really put down the power to keep the break-away rolling. This is when it’s gut-check time, we had been up the road for a while, it was windy and we had thirty minutes still to race. Every minute of it was going to be hard racing.
It took about five more laps of really pushing the pace to keep our advantage the same before we started extending our lead again. It was at this time that we had to high-tail it and make sure we would stay away! Once we got out of sight of the peloton we know the race would be settled by the three of us.
At five laps to go we were still rotating smoothly, but with two laps to go, it all went sideways. We started attacking Evan and to the mans credit he hung tough, we ended up attacking and counter attacking a few times until Santos was away and Evan was towing me to the line. Once within striking distance of the line, I jumped as hard as I could and never looked up until I crossed the line. I did not want to take one chance that I would get beaten, you can never underestimate your competitors, they are worthy opponents! Once my heart rate came down I learned Santos was so gnarly he hung on to second place claiming a CashCall 1-2 for the second week in a row! Chris Barton attacked the field with several laps to go and time-trialed to 4th place with an impressive effort as Devan Dunn sprinted in the bunch.
This was so exciting for me. We as a team had the same exact result last year, Santos and I went 1-2. It has been a full year since my last individual win, but I have been a part of so many memorable results with my team that I feel tranquil about this accomplishment. I am a firm believer that everyone has a role to play, each equally important to the outcome. I am so thankful to have been the final card played for our teams result!
Racing bikes is my passion, it is in my blood. I love to ride hard, and today was a real test because there were no gifts going to be given by this peloton. No win is accomplished alone and I cannot thank our generous sponsors enough!
-Need a mortgage? Call CashCall, they rule, they did my mortgage, and I am incredibly pleased!
-Want a fast bike? Better look up KHS, my Flite 900 looks good, performs better, and tough as nails.
Shimano, Kenda Tire, Rudy Project, Jakroo, Bike Religion, iRT, Velo Saddles, Rennie & Associates, Chamois Buttr’, Finish Line Bicycle Care Products, Xpedo, Praxis Works, World Oil, Hammer Nutrition; thank you all!!!
Until next time be safe, ride hard, and have fun,
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