Alex Shelton takes the win at the Tri-Valley Criterium in Pleasanton, Ca.
Tucker Eurman rode to a 2nd place finish in the Central Coast Circuit Race in Monterey Sunday!
This Weekend Alex Shelton and I trekked north to compete against NorCal's racers in three races; two criteriums saturday, and a circuit race sunday. Saturday's Tri-Valley Criterium Classic was held in Pleasanton on a wide,"D" Shaped course, which became more interesting with a rather nasty wind. Up first was the 3/4 race which was scheduled for 40min and over 70 starters. The race started without a hitch, Alex and I content on following wheels. Being a 3/4 race with the addition of the wind, there was a little extra "bumping and barging", but something we are used to from the chaos of LA Crits. Things started speeding up with 5 laps to go, and we both did our best to remain near the pointy end of the pelton- Alex on the inside, myself on the outside. Choosing the outside line became my downfall (quite literally) when a rider took a corner wide taking out the rider directly in front of me. I was able to bunnyhop over his downed bike, but still hit the deck, bouncing off my tush. With a bruised rump- and ego- I hurried back to watch the sprint. The last corner was about 120m from the finish, and I was ecstatic to see Alex come around 2nd wheel. He planned it to perfection, following attacks on the back-half of the course, and easily passed his only competition to take the win!
After a short break we lined up for the 2/3 race, and I was intent on overcoming my bad luck from the earlier race. This race was clearly faster, but we were both smarter and did less work in the wind. We knew exactly what we needed to do, having tasted sweet success only an hour earlier. The exclusion of the 4's, and the addition of the 2's made the race all that much more safe. Fast forward to 5 laps to go, a break of 5 about 20 seconds up the road. I followed wheels and got stuck right up near the front. Going into 2 laps to go the rider in front of me pulled off and "elbowed" me to come through- break at about 10 seconds. Rather then be "that guy" to pull off, I put my faith in Mr. Shelton, put my head down, and pulled the break back just before the beginning of the last lap. After pulling off, I tried to jump back into the front of the field. Alex was ahead of me, right where he needed to be, but was running on fumes in the head-wind back side. I felt good, but was unable to move up enough on the last lap after pulling the break back. We both finished in the top half.
Sunday led us to the 3/4 Central Coast Circuit Race in Seaside near Monterey. I know this course extremely well, and riding on our cloud of success from Saturday, we felt we had an edge over everyone else. The great 4 mile rolling course was dirtied with a nasty wind much like the day before. Lap 3 of 5 saw a single rider escape off the front, and was out of sight on lap 4. Alex expressed that he was feeling a little tired, and though I felt fine, my bike started making an incessant rattle, only to find my saddle on the verge of dislodging. On the last climb of the last lap, the lone rider was in sight, but the group lost the desire to chase. I was glued to Alex's wheel in the descent, and he came around the final corner 3rd wheel (a small gap had formed to the two riders in front of him). Right after the last corner I kicked past Alex, locked on to the other two riders. I was initially unsure if I would catch them, but to my surprise, passed them like they were standing still, winning the field sprint by multiple bike lengths.
Overall we had a very fun and successful weekend, and a few bumps and bruised couldn't keep us off the podium. I have not been racing as much as previous years, but have opted to up my training. I was very pleased to be able to unleash my sprint and leave the other riders in the dust. And though Alex may be small-framed, he packs a punch that, accompanied with his tactical edge, easily delivered him to the top step.