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Race Report: John Funke Digs Deep for 2nd Place at the 2016 Santa Cruz Classic Criterium

By Dana Williams | In Race Reports | on March 22, 2016

Mar 20, 2016
Category: Masters 45+ 1/2/3

Sunday 8AM text conversation with coach @danawilliams26(artistic license applied):
Me: Coach, I’m laying in bed here in SC, I coughed up a lung last night.
Coach: you still have another one, right?
Me: I guess so. Did I mention I didn’t sleep, either?
Coach: No problem, go race – as a reward I’ll remove the ridiculously hard intervals from tomorrow’s training plan…
Me: ok…thanks?

Plan: My TMBEquator teammate (Matthew Sloan) and I had planned earlier in the week to be active and try to get into breaks, as we know we are among the strongest riders in the 45+. Of course this all went to hell being sick and all, so Matthew offered to go “active” and get into moves and I would sit in and “see what happens”. On a good day, this is a good finish for me, so I believe this was the best plan.

Report: As you probably know, “sitting in” isn’t as easy on this course as others, and about 15 min in I was thinking about quitting as my lungs were really hurting. Matthew was in all kinds of breaks and even instigated a couple. Team Peet’s was reacting to his attacks, so clearly Matthew has arrived on the scene as he is getting the respect he deserves. I kept moving up and doing the least amount work possible – in fact I think the only person that may have done as little was Dean Laberge, who I didn’t see until about 10 to go. Peet’s seemed content to chase things down and didn’t work too hard to force a break – Chris Phipps and Nick Theobold tried a few moves but nothing got very far. I saw Matthew at around 10 to go and told him I wasn’t feeling it (I really wasn’t, I swear) and I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer him.

At around 5 to go, Dean shows up and I decide to just mark him for the rest of the race. I had a “fun” time fending off Jerome Nadel and Eric Salzman and a few others for his wheel, but I was pretty tenacious and somehow forgot about my illnes for a bit. At 2 to go Dean was still pretty far back, but I know he knows how to time it so I waited with him. On 1 to go we were STILL like 15-20 back and I was a little worried I’d screwed up. On the backstretch Peets started ramping up the pace and Matthew was perfectly positioned behind them. Someone opened up a gap (Nadel, I think) a few spots ahead of Dean – about 5 or 6 guys were clear (including Matthew). They were still clear by about 30M going through the last corner. Laberge jumps before the corner around a bunch of guys and I’m pretty much on him. As he starts hauling down riders from the front guys he hits it again and I can’t really stay with him, so I just put my head down and try to keep him as close as possible. Approaching the finish he overtakes the last of his teammates, Chris Ott, and I see that I can catch him so I dig a little deeper and get him at the line. Really impressive sprint by Dean, first closing the gap then sprinting for the win. I think the only possible scenario I could have beaten him was if I had been on the front end of that gap with good legs (and lungs) and gotten a little head start on him…

Matthew did well to finish 5th and beat some strong-ass dudes while being pretty active during the race.

I believe it is a testament to my coach that I could still get 2nd yesterday – my fitness has been really good and FTP is (or was) higher than it’s ever been. Thanks Coach! @achieveptc.com

Probably not the best post-race recovery, but I took the kids to the Boardwalk for 3 hours afterwards (because I promised, that’s why) where it promptly started raining…

I’m home sick today. Just coughed up my 2nd lung…

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