The St. Patty’s Day Criterium hosted by Velo Allegro at Hughes Park in Long Beach, CA. It was on a rather typical inland SoCal wintery day, with temperatures in the mid-80′s, Sunny, and a rather unwavering breeze. As a team, we set out to cover and follow the early moves during the first 30 minutes of racing. Then using the potential heat saturation as well as the freshness of our legs from only following, we would then initiate & attack in 2′s until we created a favorable break. If it were all still together late in the race, our last-case scenario was to attack late, with the main goal of not allowing the race to ever finish in a field sprint.
As it so happens, I wanted to be the guy who got into the early moves, and it was decided that I would cover & follow early on. Within the first ten minutes of the race, a well-represented group of 6 riders had gotten off the front and put 30 seconds on the field very quickly. The major problem with this break was that we were not one of the six. My lack of following through put a lot of pressure on our team very early on. A concern of the gap increasing, with the ultimate potentiality of the break lapping the field, we decided it had to be brought back – Now!
After 5 to 6 laps of full-commitment, our team brought back the break, while also keeping three of our guys fresh. As soon as the break was in striking distance, the counter attacks began, and we were sure to have representation.
After a few attempted breaks, Brian McCulloch attacked solo from our team, along with one CalGiant & one SoCalCylcing rider covering and bridging quickly. As always, we are to go in 2′s, so I began a half-lap bridge, made contact with the three, then we worked as a foursome for over a lap.
Feeling that we were about to be reeled in by the field, two KHS-Maxxis p/b JAKROO mates were flying unabated with no one in tow. Thomas Jondall & Dave Santos’s counter-attack essentially decided the final result of the day. We had designed for this pairing to do exactly what they did, but the only concern was they had executed about 25 minutes earlier than planned.
Now it was our job to shut it down in the field. We followed, disrupted, let solo-flyers go only to be reeled back, and did our best to discourage a steady chase. Eventually, Fabrizio Von Nacher would attack solo and bridge up to the winning move that had grown to 8. Thomas Jondall was now off the front solo, after having attacked the slight reshuffle.
The race would finish with Thomas Jondall on the top step of the podium, outlasting Kayle Leogrande’s (Surf City Cyclery) last ditch effort to catch him in the closing meters. Fabrizio would finish 3rd, followed immediately by the field, which had just brought back the remnants of the break.
KHS-Maxxis p/b JAKROO finished with what we set out to do, which was Win today. We rode hard as a team, securing two steps on the podium. What is truly invaluable to this team is the ability to constantly learn and be pushed towards the direction of excellence via the Great Teachers and Teammates that we have. Many say that it is easier to learn from losing and much harder to grasp mistakes when you win. Well, I can confidently say that I learned a great deal yesterday, and we still Won. I also happen to prefer this way of learning!
A big thanks goes out to Oren Mitz for always having our backs, to Paul Abrahams for his on-course directives, Joy McCulloch for making our days easy as always by having everything set up.
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JAKROO Custom Apparel, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Rudy Project North America, Rennie & Associates, Xpedo, Hammer Nutrition, Chamio Butt’r, WD-40 Bike, Serfas, Q2, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book and iRT Wheels.
til next time,
Thomas Jondall KHS-Maxxis p/b JAKROO 1st; Kayle Leogrande Surf City Cyclery 2nd; Fabrizio Von Nacher KHS-Maxxis pb JAKROO 3rd. Photo Credit: Danny Munson