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UC Berkeley Streets Criterium: My First Win of 2014

By Dana Williams | In Race Reports | on March 21, 2014

Coming into this race, my main goal was to help my team get the win. The P/1/2 field wasn’t super stacked because there was a road race earlier in the day, but there definitely was some strong riders. I had in the back of my mind that it would be a good challenge to somehow lap the field with other riders. Plus my dad was visiting from the East Coast of Canada and he brought my two boys so and I wanted to give them a good show.

It was a beautiful day for March 16th. The sun was shining and it was in the low 70’s.  The course was a rectangle city block. The start/finish section was 150 meters and approx 6-7% ascent. The back stretch was same distance with 6-7% descent. The pavement was in good shape except for a few good pot holes at the bottom of the course between turn 3 and 4.

I sensed this race was going to get off to a fast start and it wasn’t going to be easy. This was because of the challenging nature of the course, reports from team members from previous years and some ‘eager anticipation’ shared on Facebook by some competitors. In addition, when I asked a teammate how he felt, he said he was ‘going to go ballistic’. Alright, game on! Let’s go have some fun.

The starter’s pistol went ‘bang’ and we were off; 60 minutes of bike racing had begun. I believe the first attack happened as the field went by the start/finish line for the first time. Go figure. I was at the front and let things stretch out a bit. The attacking continued for a few laps, typically on the same uphill section.   I’d say around lap 10, my teammate Roman put in an attack and there was a slight hesitation in the field. He got a little gap and I decided to go across as fast as I could. I caught him just as we went around turn one. I looked back and we had a gap. Now was the time to hit it. We both sensed this and got to work. We were doing laps in under a minute so we went around and around and around…. The gap to the field was between 15 – 20 seconds for a while. Then I heard somebody say 13 second. “Ah oh” I thought to myself. I was working hard and at that moment thought we were going to get brought back. Roman spoke up and said we should just set a good tempo up the start/finish uphill climb and  then hit it pretty hard across the top into the headwind between turn 1 and 2. This way we could carry some good speed on the downhill section between turn 2 and 3. His experience paid off. I soon heard we had 20 seconds. This was good. We were working well together and kept the pace high.
Next we saw the back of the field. Our attitudes shifted slightly….we became like a hungry pack of wolves on the trail of an injured deer. Roman said ‘let’s not hang out here too long and catch that.’ So that’s what we did. It certainly was a good feeling when we made contact with the field. We still had 30 minutes of racing left. Attacks continued and were marked. With about 8 laps to go a rider made a strong move and ended up stretching his gap out until we couldn’t see him with three laps to go. The focus now was to get my teammate, Walton, to the line before anybody else so he could get some upgrade points. I got to his wheel on the last lap. Instead of going by him I decided to hang there and as we rounded the final corner I let a little gap open. It was enough for him to get the field sprint for fourth. I was able to roll over the line comfortably and raise my arm for my first win of the season.
A big thank you to my teammates of Team Mike’s Bikes powered by Equator Coffees for the strong riding and helping me get the win. I look forward to returning the favour.

My Cheering Squad: Dad & Kids

My Cheering Squad: Dad & Kids

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