Knights Ferry Road Race 35+ Cat 4

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Knights Ferry Road Race
Field: 35+4
Teammates: John Balon (9th), Sam Paik (7th)
Field Size: 16
Result: 4th

We arrived at the course in the pouring rain. After sitting in the car for about 20 minutes, we were prepared for 3 hours of wet riding. However, after registering, the sun came out until we packed up after the race. We were unsure of our fitness levels and who was strongest, so we decided to stay out of the wind (it was really windy) as much as possible and see how we felt closer to the end. Sam volunteered to take a hard pull before the hill to stretch out the field.

With about 35 miles left, Muscle Milk/Specialized rider was fed up with no one pulling through and drilled it for 2-3 minutes, dropping a few riders. I was close to being dropped after the turn around. Sam kept an eye on me and helped me back. When he finished, the others braked hard to stay in his draft taking up the whole road in the process. Since no one pulled through, he attacked and got a huge gap. The pack did not chase.

With about 20 miles to go, one of the Revs Road Race riders got us organized into a pace line. Some were still hesitant to pull through (not a pretty line). We held it together for about 10 miles, losing guys along the way. It broke up completely at the sight of the next hill. John was first to get caught in the front with a huge cross wind. Sam relieved him. Eventually, I was stuck in the front as two riders attacked. The other Rev rider went down in the break as he crossed wheels with the Rio Strada rider leading the attack. Sam passed me and picked up the pace, but no one wanted to work. I tried again after the turn around, but gave up when I was left alone.

So, now we’ve got 1st and 2nd off the front with no chase. Sam was pretty spent, helping John and me. I had been struggling with the climbs and John looked pretty good on them. All 3 of us were in the group of 7 riders that were still left. With about two miles left, I decided to go for it with the goal to stretch out the remaining group and set John up. I gave it my all for as long as I could. The CoreTechs rider attacked on the steep section with less than 200m. I could see there was another guy behind him hoping it was John. Unfortunately, it was a rider in red and he was fading fast. I tried to chase the CoreTechs rider back but was too spent. I was able to hold on to an easy 4th. Sam and John finished 7th and 9th, respectively. It turned out Sam was starting to cramp with about 4 miles left in the race and told John he wouldn’t be able to help him.  And unfortunately, John cramped as well, shortly before the final climb and wasn’t able to contend for the finish.

Rich Beeler

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