Over the weekend, team rider, Kent Ross, traveled to Northern California to tackle the Chico Stage Race solo. Here is a rider journal of the race from Kent’s perspective. Enjoy
This past weekend I took a short trip down from Oregon to the Chico Stage Race. Most of the team was in Southern California racing the San Dimas Stage Race so I was on my own.
Stage 1 was an 80 minute circuit race which took place on the Thunderhill Raceway, a 2-mile winding car-racing track. I felt pretty good and spent the first half of the race attempting to get into a breakaway. After many attempts throughout the race it was clear that the race would finish in a sprint. In the last couple laps I did my best to stay in good position but without many big teams in the race it was tricky. I was a bit further back than i wanted to be in the last kilometer of the race. With a good sprint I was able to move up considerably in the sprint until I found myself leading. It was short-lived, as a rider from the Mike’s Bikes team came around me to take the win and put me into second place.
Stage 2 was the Pascenta Hills Road Race. It was a relatively flat race 90-mile race with a gravel road and short hill leading into the finish. The start of the race was pancake flat so I assumed that sitting in wouldn’t be a challenge and lined up near the back. The “neutral start” was full gas with riders getting spit out the back of the race instantly. I quickly realized my mistake and paid the price, as I spent the next lap of the race chasing what remained of the front of the field. I ended up finishing in 18th place far behind the leaders. Not a great day on the bike but certainly learned my lesson.
Stage 3 was the flat time trial. Without a time trial bike as well as being significantly behind the top ten in the general classification, I decided to save my energy for stage 4 (the criterium) later that evening. The criterium was an L-shaped loop with a long road that the race finished on. Since I wasn’t in GC contention and was still fresh from taking it easy in the time trial, I decided to go for a breakaway. I spent the whole race near the front and joined or initiated countless breakaways, but they were all brought back quickly. Positioning for the field sprint was tricky much like in the circuit race as there were few teams to make the race fast in the final few laps. I managed to get into decent position near the end of the race but ended up finishing in 4th place.
Overall it was a fun weekend where I was able to learn a lot and get some decent results!