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Sea Otter- Daniel Carruthers
7 May, 2009
Circuit race at Sea Otter
The final race of the Sea Otter PRO road races was brutal with the steep hill to get over on each lap of the 2.2 mile circuit. Early on, a group of six riders broke away and maintained a 1-2 minute lead before the catch was made after 18 laps or so of racing. My strategy of positioning myself near the front of the bunch before the steep climb of each climb was paying dividends and I was for the most part in the front split going over the hill. It was brutal as I had to output over 600 watts average power going up the hill each time and it was not going to be sustainable if I encountered problems during the climb. I managed to stay in the race for the first 14 laps, but on lap 15 I was starting to cramp slightly and was in need of fluid. However, no one in the feed-zone was willing to hand me up a bottle except the feeder from the Bissell Pro Cycling squad. The feedzone is right before the steep hill and I was gapped by about 10 metres due to trying to secure a bottle. I sprinted back on just fine, but half-way up the hill (I was already at max but holding wheels fine) some dude almost gives up and un-clips and starts coasting to the side of the track. I was trying to pass him on the outside and his line blocked my progress. When you stop pedalling and have to re-accelerate, it takes a huge effort to bridge the gap again. I clawed back onto the last wheel of the dissappearing peloton, but this guy dropped his chain and I was trying to sprint pass him on the outside but he swerved into my path and almost collided with me. So for the third time in the space of 90 seconds, I had to re-accelarate but this time I could not regain contact and the peloton dissappeared over the hill 15 metres in front. Out on your own without any help, it is almost impossible to bridge back to the main bunch. I could see them on the next straightaway fanning out and sitting up. I knew that if I could make it back into the fold, it would be easy to recover again for the next shot at the climb but the effort required to get back in was too great for my lactic acid filled legs. I ended up getting pulled a couple of laps later.

Not long after I got pulled, the main bunch that was left (about 40 riders) exploded into fragments with Levi Leipheimer leading the chase group of about 10 riders to try and reel in the breakaway of three riders containing New Zealander, Jeremey Vennell (Bissell), Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) and Luis Amaran (Colavita Sutter Home). The trio worked too well together to be caught again and Bissell had numbers against Levi Leipheimer to prevent him from bridging up to the breakaway. Andy Jacques-Maynes took a well deserved win by attacking over the steep climb of the last lap. Jeremy Vennell from New Zealand finished 3rd with Levi taking the bunch sprint for 5th.

Click to enlarge...

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