Sequoia Cycling Classic
P/1/2 Criterium $3,000 Purse
Team: Josh Carling, Bob Terra, Timmy Bauer
I must admit, I wanted to get one of our riders on the
Podium. I wanted to prove that teamwork
and sacrifice is more powerful than numbers.
Three team riders committed to each other can outperform a team of ten
riders who are focused on individual success.
The race. The Sequoia
Cycling Classic race is a fast, six corner criterium located in downtown
Visalia. Visalia is a great location
for a SoCal vs NorCal showdown. Bring
some of the fastest crit riders from both districts, add $3,000 and you are
sure to see some fireworks.
The venue was fantastic. The
promoters built a great course, created a great vibe with food expo, vendor
expo and of course, a beer garden.
Last week, I contacted the race promoter. I wanted to do the race and he wanted us there. He offered free booth space in exchange for bringing down a team. After agreeing to the deal, we put our rider list together and headed south. Josh, Bob and Timmy were on board. Kevin and Matt Tufts had previous engagements and Sam and Kristen were up training in Woodland. Bob and I drove down Saturday night while Timmy and Josh drove up Sunday morning.
The Plan. BE FLEXIBLE. Allow the race to develop and be fluid with our strategy. Bob’s job was to follow any dangerous moves, get in breaks and take pressure off our team. If a break went away with Bob in it, we felt confident Bob could win the race out of the break. Timmy was there to support Josh. Josh was there to win!
The race. It was
fast! The first part of the race was controlled with no
real moves or dangerous attacks. I believe riders did not want to
show their hand too early because too much money was at stake for 75
minutes’ worth of
racing. Around 25 minutes into the race,
the attacks started with hopes of building the correct combination of riders
represented in the break. If the right
combo went away, the peloton would let them go. Bob was very attentive covering virtually
every important move. While Bob was up
the road, Josh sat near the front in position to join a counter move. I was hoping a second move would go with Josh
attached. This would have given us both
Josh and Bobby up the road with Timmy waiting.
It did not happen. Eventually,
all breaks came back.
With around five laps to go, Bob came back to the peloton
after being off the front. As he positioned
back into the peloton, there was a crash.
Bob was caught behind the crash which ended his day.
This is when the race became a blur. As I recall, four riders slipped off the front and gained 10 seconds on the group. The peloton struggled to pull them back. The attacks came fast and furious. It was hard to control the race at this point. Personally, I did not think we would bring back to break. But, as things happen in bike racing, the break played a bit of cat and mouse, slowed and ultimately was swallowed by the peloton on the last lap
As crazy as the last few laps were, the race played right
into our hands. With less than one lap
to go, the peloton was together and Josh was fresh for the sprint. The who’s who of NorCal and SoCal sprinters
controlled the front going into the last turn.
Josh was in great position. The
last corner setup to be very fast and sketchy.
Pushing through and bumping elbows in the last corner caused Josh to a
scrub some speed and he had to re-accelerate to the line. In the end, Josh came across in third
with Timmy further back.
Third place was a huge success for the team but bittersweet for Josh. Josh is a warrior and wanted the win! However, that’s bike racing and third place is pretty darn good for our small program!
We proved that we belong and can race with the very best
teams on the west coast. I can’t say
enough about our wonderful athletes, their supportive families and our
sponsors. There is no question that our
success has been a result of teamwork.
Teamwork is the core to racing success and this team proves it week in
and week out. Pics attached.