Red Kite “Bump” Circuit Race 40+ 4/5

July 22, 2018
Field Size: 23
Result: 1st
IC3 Rider: Sam Paik

I wasn’t planning on signing up for this race because I had gone on vacation during the first week of July and then spent another week of vacation the week before the race. Although I rode pretty hard during the week between vacations, I knew my fitness would be less than ideal and I’d be heavier than normal. Sure enough, with all the food I ate at the all-inclusive resort in Mexico and during the more recent trips to Oregon and LA (mostly Korean BBQ), I was about 4 lbs over my normal weight at race time. But with only a few more road races left on the calendar, I decided to sign up on the last day of pre-registration. The goal was to race to kick start my fitness again for the final two months of the season. I was also happy to see that my usual mates Michael Jones and Greg Kennedy were pre-registered, which was an additional incentive.

There were 23 racers in this field, which is around the number I like to see for maximum safety, maneuverability, and upgrade points. After the neutral start, the first half of the gradual climb on Patterson Pass was very mellow, so much so that the motorcycle man told us “You know the race has started, right?”. That was enough to spark an acceleration that dropped a few riders. I stayed with the acceleration and rode near the front for most of the first lap, even taking a pull on Tesla. During the second time up Greenville, Mike hit some glass and it sounded like his tire exploded. I was chatting with him to his left and actually felt the air from his tire on my leg. Sure enough, his tire was slashed from the glass and his race was over. I was sad to lose him as he had told me before the race that we would finish first and second.

There were accelerations every time we climbed Patterson Pass but no one was able to get away. Figuring that this race would be decided on the final climb up Patterson Pass, I decided to use as little energy as possible until then. Given my reduced fitness, the race certainly felt harder than in February, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d have left for the final push. Soon after we passed Flynn on the final lap, the pace increased and I did my best to just stay with the acceleration. As we continued on, I told myself to be patient and just hold my position, which was around 8th at that point, until I could see the bump coming up. Finally, as we got closer to the bump, the race started to break apart. Riders started going backwards as I tried to ride around them and follow the leaders. As I made the final turn on Cross, I passed a couple more riders and then saw just one more rider from Penvelo between me and the finish line. Although he was several bike lengths ahead of me, I knew I was still in my big chain ring (I stayed in it the entire race), which might give me an advantage in the sprint. So I got off the saddle and went all-out to try to beat him at the line. It seemed like I may have nipped him by a couple tire widths but I wasn’t sure.  As I rode back and spoke to Matt Becker, who was marshaling at the finish line, he told me that I had won by a tire width. This was officially confirmed later. Victory was mine!

Considering I had no expectations for this race, I was thrilled by the result, as this was my first win ever as a road racer. And it was especially sweet being able to perform in front of my Christian Cycling brothers who were marshaling the corners and cheering me on at every turn. It was also great to share the podium with Greg, who came in 4th. Thank you, God!



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