Marc Pro - Strava

Cycling Team

The lead Mike's Bikes Crit Monkey readying the troops for Burlingame

The lead Mike's Bikes Crit Monkey readying the troops for Burlingame

Unfortunately, NorCal racers continue to focus on a single, stupid downtown Crit, while they all had the chance at an epic battle a few miles north. This year I really tried to pump up The Little City Stage Race because it deserves the hype. 4 stages 3 days in the high elevation desert, good prize money, an up and coming race promoter and all you can eat sushi. Luckily both Marc Pro - Strava and Cal Giant took notice and sent a squad. This would be the duel throughout the weekend.

The first stage of the Omnium was the Diamond Valley Road Race, set in Woodfords, CA. Just at the base of epic mountain passes such as Ebbets, Carson and Monitor...which could be used in future editions of this race if we continue to support it's growth. The race is only 68 miles, but always seems like more when you add the elevation, heat and wind. This year we had to contend with swarms of Locusts as well. MPS had a plan to make sure we had at least 2 contenders in each break but kept our tactics pretty loose. We headed out pretty mellow on the first lap until we hit the crosswind, locust section. Attacks started to fly. I may have contributed to a few myself, but we were caught off gaurd when a Cal Giant and 2 Davis Bike Club riders made it up the road. We chased the group back together and when the dust settled the race had whittled down to 15-20 riders. I countered immediately with a DBC rider starting the 2nd of 6 laps. We got a gap through the tailwind section, and I pushed it over the 2 climbs to find myself alone. It was not a smart move, but I channeled my inner Ben Jaques-Maynes and powered through the locusts and wind. The gap went from 20 seconds to a 1:10. I metered my effort, waivering on the idea of soloing a long road race in the wind, getting caught and not having anything for the finish. The 5th time up the climb I pulled the plug as my gap was hovering around a minute. The group was down to 8 riders, 3 from MPS (Chris HD, Jared Kessler and myself), 3 from Cal Giant (Torey Phillip, Colin Joyce and Yannick Eckmann), strong man Jacob Albright (Whole Athlete) and Matt Rodriguez (Davis). Attacks came immediately, and after a few, Torey Phillip got some daylight. He was pushing hard because it took some serious work to bring him back. He stayed away until the crosswind section of the final lap when it all came together. The group continued to attack and chase all the way to the finish. I swear we looked like a bunch of gladiators at the end of the day...swerving all over the road, salty, yelling at each other. No one had the strength to break away so the finish came down to whittled field sprint which HD started to leadout. Matt Rodriguez surged with 400 meters and Colin Joyce jumped a long way out with 300 meters. I had lead legs and tried to come around way too soon. Realizing I wasn't making progress I jumped back in his draft and tried again...it didn't happen and Colin won. We ended up 2,4,6 and in good position for the overall omnium.

Alex Chiu takes some great shots...This is the Fernley Circuit pushing the two man break

Alex Chiu takes some great shots...This is the Fernley Circuit pushing the two man break

The picture above explains it all. The Fernley Race Circuit was fun. Crazy winds, good pavement and lots of turns. Chuck Hutcheson attacked from go. I countered his move at the top of the headwind climb and the break was established. Yankick, myself and Josh Rennie from Velo Reno. Josh put in some good work for the first lap, but there was nowhere to hide and the pace was a little too much. Yannick and I worked well together for the next 3 laps. With 2 to go I noticed a Cal Giant rider and Jacob Albright were making a move across. This was not a good scenario for MPS so I continued to drive hard. On the last lap I attacked Yannick with everything I had twice. He brought me back both times, but I knew we were both hurting. Knowing the finish was a long headwind, and Yannick was sitting on, I tried a false attack at 500 meters. It worked and Yannick countered. It was a solid counter and took until about 200 meters to catch him, but I did and was able to power to the finish.

We absolutely crushed some all you can eat sushi to fuel us for the rest of the race!!

We absolutely crushed some all you can eat sushi to fuel us for the rest of the race!!

Eyes on the road

Eyes on the road

Diamond Valley Time Trial...downhill, tailwind, locusts, turnaround, uphill, headwind, locusts, bug juice splatter in eye...I won and consolidated my lead heading into the crit.

The downtown Minden Crit is so much fun. Excellent pavement, park setting, and a fun chicane to the finish. I did some quick math (too quick) before the race and figured Colin Joyce was the only one who could overtake me in in the Omnium. Our plan was to let a break get up the road without Colin or I in it...that happened with 13 guys. Jared and HD were in the move, and I just sat and watched Colin. We got lapped and when we did all kinds of things started happening. At first there was confusion as the groups merged, and second Colin started chatting with everyone on his team, they had done there calculations better than I. Turns out Yannick was only 78 points down on me, not 82 like I thought. If he won and I got 16th or higher, I would lose by 1 point. They got on front to control the race and any attack to help leadout Yannick. I needed an insurance policy so I told Jared to sit on Yannick and beat him in the sprint. After some attacking (HD off the front for a good 7 laps) Cal Giant was throttling themselves to control the race. I came up to Jared and asked what do you need...he said "a leadout" and I heard "I'm in the leadout." So my thought was to disrupt the leadout. With 2.5 laps to go, as HD was getting reabsorbed, I threw down my hardest attack...I looked back to find Michael Larson (Velo Reno) on my wheel and a huge gap. I knew Michael was in the original break and could win at this point and take the points Yannick needed for the overall...I also know Michael and he is a strong kid who is up and coming from the Reno area. I drilled it for the next two laps and held the gap on the chasing CalGiant. Michael got the win, I won the Omnium and Jared still managed to out sprint Yannick for 3rd. Victory!!
Author and team member JUSTIN ROSSI can be found breaking records on STRAVA and racing via USA Cycling license #298550.

Read all 60 Blog Posts by Justin Rossi


Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for the love guys. Sorry we had to go do a "stupid" race with actual prize money that did not involve driving 500 miles to race in front of no spectators. I am sure our supporters would have loved that. Oh well, looking forward to racing with you guys in Madison on Sunday... That is unless you're too scared.

Jul 4 2014

Roman says...


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