been a busy month! The CashCall Mortgage boys have been all over the place
racing our bikes, seemingly nonstop! Since my last journal four weeks ago, we
have raced in Murrieta, San Dimas, Redlands, Ontario, and Albany, New York, and
I've spent half the month on the road. It's been a grind, but that's what this
sport is. You have to love it and be passionate about cycling to be able to
handle the rigorous schedule. With so much racing going on, training has been
put on hold a little bit. No more six hour rides (for now). Instead, I have
been focusing on maintaining my fitness and making sure I am well rested for
each race. That means shorter, easier rides with occasional spurts of
Murrieta- The first
multi-day race in southern California is the Tour de Murrieta. Our team went
out there with multiple riders capable of winning the three-day omnium. I
really wanted to do well, so even though time-trialing isn't my strong suit, I
crushed it and wound up in 5th place. Devan Dunn and Dave Santos took first and
second, which was awesome! Those guys are super fast in the time trial; so even
though I was bummed I didn't get onto the podium, I was stoked to be within 10
seconds of their time.
into the crit the next day ready to defend our first leader's jersey. Devan had
the honor of wearing the jersey for CashCall Mortgage. However, at the end of
the day, a late breakaway containing Stefano Barberi, Brian McCulloch, and Dave
Santos went the distance. Stefano won the race, and Dave took the leader's
jersey! I'd say that's a job well done.
day of racing was the circuit race. We had to defend our lead again, and ride
the front the whole race. I had never done this before, but I managed to ride
really strong all the way to the finish. It was certainly a different
experience to control the race like we did. There was a bit of a scare when
Dave got caught in a crash, but the whole team stopped and paced him back to
the field. In the finish, I was responsible for leading out Dave. I got on the
front with just over 1km to go, and took him to 400 meters. Dave sprinted for
5th place, and secured the GC win in the process! It felt really good to do all
that work and get the win, so even though this had been a goal race of mine, I
walked away from it happy with the result. Congrats Dave!
Stage Race- Just a
few days later we were back racing, this time at the San Dimas Stage Race. All
the guys were pretty excited about the race, and we were even more excited
about the new rider on our team, Michael Weicht. Michael is a super strong
rider who just came to the US from Germany. Our team was much stronger with the
addition of Michael, so the team went into the race with high hopes, but
unfortunately luck wasn't on our side.
starters, I flatted in the time trial–not fun! The road race at San
Dimas is a brutal one; and 40 degree weather with wind, rain, and hail just
made the race even more challenging. We lost Devan and Dave to a crash, and
Stefano had to pull out of the race due to illness. In the finish, the only
ones left were Anthony Canevari, Brian, Michael and I. We hit the final climb
in good position, but after 90 miles in the cold, I just didn't have the legs.
I was suffering to try and stay with the leaders, but gaps opened up and I
wasn't able to close them down in the final 2km.
day was the crit in downtown San Dimas. A breakaway with Michael and Anthony
stayed away for the majority of the race, and nearly stole the show. They were
brought back with one lap to go. I had been sitting in the field, but I guess I
was just having an off day, because I didn't have the legs in the finish. The
sprint was absolutely crazy and chaotic, and I ended up 10th with Anthony
Cycling Classic- The team
got to go home and get just three days of rest before starting the Redlands Cycling Classic. It is the first NRC race of the season, so all the best riders
in the US show up for it.
super motivated for the first road race. This was a race that I had been focusing
on since November when I started my winter training. My goal was to get over
the final climb with the lead group, and then sprint for the win. During the
race I was super focused, and made sure I was in the right spot at all times.
Going into the last climb, I was sitting on the race leader, Phil Gaimon's
wheel. Perfect. The climb was tough and when Francisco Mancebo attacked, I was
put in the hurt box right away, but I hung in there and made it over with an
elite group of 30 guys. From this point on, it was a speedy downhill run-in to
the finish. A group of 20 more riders caught us with just 5km to go. Michael
was in that group, and immediately came to help Stefano and me get ready for
the sprint. Things started to get really crazy though, and Stefano got caught
behind a big crash. Michael and I tried to get together in the final 500
meters, but we lost some positions and I ended up finishing 11th on the stage.
I had mixed emotions about that result. I was happy that I made it over the
climb in the front group, but disappointed in my tactics during the sprint (here's a look at the Training Peaks race file).
of the race had kind of the same theme, that being, committing tiny mistakes
that had huge consequences. The crit was a battle to stay in the front the
entire race. I fell back a little too far and wasn't able to move back up
enough to contest the sprint, and ended up finishing 15th. The infamous Sunset
Road Race was another battle of positioning. I made the front group again, this
time with about 40 riders. I was hanging in there with the leaders until it
started to rain. I grabbed a rain jacket and while putting it on, attacks
started flying. I had drifted to the back and I kept having to close gaps in
front of me. When we hit the climb, I had nothing left and wasn't able to hold
on when Mancebo was attacking the race leader. It was a bummer watching the
field pull away from me. I knew I had the legs to be there, but another mistake
had cost me.
Sunday Grand Prix- After a
much needed weekend off, all the guys got together and raced the Easter Sunday
GP out in Ontario. This course is always unpredictable, as it favors breakaways
and field sprints. We did a lot of attacking and I ended up in one good move
for a few laps with Anthony, but the other teams didn't like the fact that
CashCall Mortgage had two sprinters in the break (I don't blame them), and
promptly brought us back. Once we were on lap cards, our guys set up the lead
out train. Michael, Stefano, Brian and Dave did a great job of riding the front
taking us to the last corner. I knew Justin Williams was on my wheel, and I
started sprinting as hard as I could. At 100 meters, he shot past me like a
rocket and took the win! I ended up coming in 4th. Justin was stoked to win
again, as was the rest of the team. It was a great team effort so I think all
the guys were happy with the result.
the Battenkill- A big
race on our calendar was Tour of the Battenkill. It is our first UCI race ever–sweet! Brian, Stefano, Devan, Dave, and I flew out to
Albany, New York to do the "hardest one day race in America." We got
the chance to recon the course, and the dirt roads combined with the steep
climbs made it seem like the race was going to live up to its name. Come race
day, we were ready to ride hard and really surprise some people. The race
started off fast and furious, as just 5 miles in, there was a narrow covered
bridge that was a major choke-point. If you weren't in the front 30 guys going
through–have fun chasing back on for
the next few miles. Luckily, I made it through just fine, as did the rest of
the team. We hit the dirt sections soon after, and that's when things really
started to get crazy. The peloton was riding full speed through the dirt/gravel
and guys were getting flat tires left and right. At one point, I saw five guys
from the Kenda team all get flats at the same time.What bad luck! Gaps were
opening up as the leaders twisted the throttle on the harder sections, and the
dust getting kicked up was ridiculous. Everyone was covered in it, and yes, we
were breathing that stuff in. It wasn't pleasant, but you just had to fight
Pre-riding the demanding Tour of Battenkill course proved invaluable in the team's success.
took a turn for the worse when I was caught sitting too far back in the field
on a critical climb in the dirt. The dirt was really soft, and it caused riders
to get bogged down and crash into one another. I got caught behind all this and
had no choice but to get off my bike a run up the rest of the climb, cyclocross
style! At that point, there were already gaps forming and I initially wasn't
able to reconnect with the field. After a little over an hour of suffering like
crazy with a group of riders, I made it back to the field. I was so relieved to
be back. Brian let me know Devan was up the road in the breakaway. I was pretty
exhausted, so I just sat in and conserved my energy until the finish. Stefano
helped me out and took me to the front with 1km to go, and I sprinted as best I
could. My legs were absolutely fried, and starting to cramp, but I knew I had
to push through it. I ended up 29th (take a look at the Training Peaks file from the race). Later, I found
out Devan ended up 13th after flatting out of the breakaway. What a bummer!
Devan was riding great, so it's unfortunate that happened. But at the end of
the day, all the guys had a great time and we were pretty thrilled to be able
to compete in a UCI race!!
all, we have had a tough past four weeks. I had a lot of ups and downs, but
that's all a part of the game. Some days you have it, others you don't, but you
have to keep going and no matter what, and not look back. I am super focused on
the next big NRC race, Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The
course looks tough, but I am ready to ride hard and turn some heads!
Follow Lee and the rest of the CashCall Mortgage Cycling Team at cashcallcycling.com or on their Facebook page.