This is a traditional first race of the year for a lot of riders. It is a flat one, so everyone shows. Climbers are never afraid of flat courses, but sprinters are afraid of hills.... what's in them thar' hills? Don't know, but clunking up a narrow windy road seems more fun than groveling in the gutter... though I chose to do both and enjoy... or at lease have lots of stories to tell at the end.
Three strawberries rose early to make the festivities. the Danger Man, Pablo and me, Henri. It was great weather, cool and not to much wind. The 35 field has gotten very organized and strong. It is well organized from the stand point of a few teams able to control the race. Safeway and Spine got control early and half way through the race, Hutch and Olaf V shot off the front with one EMC guy in tow. Now that is a very lethal combo, near unstoppable, as both those teams were and are always well represented. Now.... who can chase that down, well there were a couple of teams in strong enough numbers to chase and still have reserves, but that never happened. So the race was left to the suicide men. Strawberry, being fresh off the vine, could not sacrifice much. So if ya' wanted to score today ya better screw in your tiger eye and giddy up off the front. There was a last lap break of a couple of tough guys, that did not get caught. Very near the end, K Carpenter drove the pace so hard that it sling shot a small group that D Martin drove into the gutter to propel his time trail to the finish. P Sarna made a studdly solo effort with 5k to go only to be rushed at the 1 k mark. There was a mild pimping sprint for the remaining spots by the pouting field.
Things were just tough enough that only one third of the starting 100+ riders finished and most seemed to be shedding tears about how hard it had been on the dusty plains of Central California.