Tour de Murrieta 2013

CashCall Mortgage Cycling Team member Chris Barton recounts the first two stages of the Tour de Murrieta, 2013:

Author Chris Barton riding in the break at Saturday's Tour de Murrieta Grand PrixAuthor Chris Barton riding in the break at Saturday’s Tour de Murrieta Grand Prix

This year’s Tour de Murrieta started out with a quick but painful Individual Time Trial on Friday. The first half of the 4.1 mile course was on nicely paved roads, but the second half was atypical for a time trial. The racers turned right and headed up a rough and twisty dirt climb to the finish. Warming up under our KHS pop-up tent was mentally daunting to say the least. With heavy rain and hail being driven sideways by strong gusts of wind, it was looking like my effort was going to be less about turning the pedals and more about staying upright.

Luckily, the weather eased-up to just a drizzle by the time the Pro1/2 men were off, and I soon found myself at the start-line with 5 seconds to go. The paved part of the time trial went by extremely quickly and I was soon picking my lines through the rock-strewn turns of the dirt climb. I was able to catch my breath a bit and was able to give another good dig over the top of the climb to the finish line. After such a short, intense effort I often find myself instantly wondering where I could have gone harder, but this day I felt I had gauged my efforts pretty well given the conditions. This was happily confirmed with a 6th place finish, placing me the highest of the CashCall riders.

Saturday’s Criterium, a fast and windy 1 mile loop with 6-corners, was fast from the gun. After following a few attacks, I found myself in a 6-man breakaway with teammate Cole House, three Jelly Belly riders, and race leader Sergei Tvetcov. Despite being out-numbered by Jelly Belly, this was a good situation. We held the chasing field off for the whole race and had a gap of 20 seconds going in to the final laps. With 2 laps to go I attacked, but a Jelly Belly rider was soon on my wheel. I regrouped and with 1 lap to go attacked again, and again a Jelly Belly rider brought me back. At this point we came around the last turn and started the sprint. My teammate Cole House managed 3rd in the sprint to round out the podium and I held on for 4th. Since the event was an omnium (placing based on finish position not time), I moved into 4th place going in to Sunday’s circuit race.

Cole House chimes in for the final stage of Murrieta:

For the TdM, the CashCall squad consisted of Chris Barton, Wes Holloway, David Santos, Logan Loader and myself (Cole House). The rest of our team including Michael Weicht, Brian McCulloch, Justin Williams and Fabrizio Von Nacher, had traveled to Tuscon, AZ to race the Old Pueblo Grand Prix, round one of the USACrit Series. The team placed 6th at the event and decided to come back to Murrieta Sunday after noon for the 3rd stage of the event the rest of us were racing. Although the additional three riders were great, we still had some difficulty in the event with some mechanicals and riders not feeling well.

The course was, ok not anything special. It was a short big-ring circuit with quite a bit of wind. The center-line was enforced over half of the course which was frustrating and always made it difficult for positioning. In the last few laps, a 2-rider breakaway snuck up the road and to no avail, we were not able to bridge to it. Justin Williams finished 2nd in the field sprint, for 4th place on the day.