February 02, 2016 (Santa Barbara, CA) – Many of our guys are training in California right now. Matteo, Benjamin Perry and Nigel Ellsay headed to the Santa Barbara County Road Race to get in their first race of the year. The race is put on by the awesome people running the UCSB Cycling Team. Last year Ben and Alexander Cataford finished 1-3. This year Teo and Ben were 1-4. Here’s how it happened from Ben’s perspective:
Attacks were flying early on and as one of my attacks came back Matteo countered with 2 other riders following in his wheel. I waited for the climb to try and do some damage. On lap one I was unsuccessful getting away but on the second lap I managed to ride across to the breakaway. Mateo had been doing 90% of the work up ahead and as I crested the climb he saw me approaching and sat on to wait for me.
Once I got there, Matteo drove it and our gap grew and grew, maxing out at almost 2min at one point, as back in the peloton Nigel was doing damage control and disrupting efforts to bridge.
Up front, Teo and I devised a plan to attack the 2nd last time up the climb, just before crossing the line to start the 6th and final lap of the 135km race. Teo took up the pacing and we soon dropped our 2 break mates. I started to really come apart and I blew sky high. Despite Teo’s encouragement, one of the dropped riders made it back to us and Teo took off solo.
My group swelled to 9 by the time we reached the final climb, as I waited and tried to shake the cramps out of my legs. But the race was over: Teo was on another level and managed to take 2min out of the shattered field. A few kilometres behind, one rider went solo 1km before the base of the climb while the others looked around at each other. I attacked early on the climb and managed to get away clean. I came close to the rider dangling in 2nd place, but as I did 3 riders caught me and we started to attack each other. All attempts failed and I sprinted to 4th place. A great high intensity workout for all involved, and a very impressive showing of early season form by Teo! Big thanks to the UCSB Cycling Team for putting on the race!