« steephill.tv home page   •    email Email This    •    Y! Mail This    •    Gmail Mail This

Pescadero Coastal Classic Photos:
Kieran Sherlock's - highlights, all 600 photos sorted chronologically; Sammarye Lewis photos
Race Results by Alto Velo

Grizzly Peak Cyclist, Berkeley resident and Masters 35 1/2/3 race winner, Patrick Gordis, is wearing the yellow helmet, 2nd from the right. Photo credit: Velogal

Pescadero Coastal Classic Masters 35+ 1/2/3 race report by the winner, Patrick Gordis

Patrick Gordis, emailed his race report, upon request, detailing his great win at the 9th Annual Pescardero Coastal Classic, near San Jose, California. In just his second race as a cat 3, Patrick took first place in the Masters 35+ 1/2/3 race this past weekend. — Steve, June 26, 2006

I think I really had a good deal of luck here. First, as I think [Scott] Frake, noted, some of the extraterrestrial 35+ guys raced up in the 1/2 field since many of those guys were racing the Tour de Nez. As an aside, before the race, I saw two fairly large teams in that race, one with South African team jerseys and the other with the Russian national team. I did not see any of those teams in the 1/2 results which I thought was odd. I guess the South Africans at least are in their Winter training mode?

Anyway, Frake's report covers a lot of the race pretty well, but I'll add my part and correct a few mistakes in his account. On the second lap, after we flew up the Stage road hills with yours truly hanging on the back and reached Hwy. 84, a break went off the front as it slowed up a lot due to the usual coastal head winds. No one wants to pull the whole field through that section. A break of I think 5-7 riders got away and quickly got some distance, but were still visible in places. There was a Spine rider in that break and a Specialized/Sierra Nevada (Hancock?), but otherwise no Safeway or EMC.

As the break was getting further away, I found myself near the front for the first time in the race. A local Clif Bar rider, Brennon Daly, was at the front sort of sitting up. I am not sure why. He was not blocking for the break. He only had one teammate and he had flatted out earlier in the race. I surged around him and started to chase towards the break on the long gradual uphill on 84. No one came with me and I pulled away easily. About a minute or two later two EMC riders (they ended up 2nd & 3rd) came up to me riding pretty fast. At first they would not pull through and I zigzagged to get them off my wheel. Then, for whatever reason, they started to work with me and we chased pretty hard. One of those EMC guys, a big, strong horse named Rich Thurman was really putting out some watts on his pulls in I am guessing a 53/15!

The break ahead must have been going fairly hard also as we only made up ground very gradually on them. I don't think they saw us coming either. There are too many scattered riders at that point in the race to be sure who's in what group. After quite a hard effort, we finally caught the break just after the feedzone hill. This was not ideal in the sense that we were just about to hit Haskins Hill with no time to recover from bridging up.

As soon as we hit the bottom of the hill a strong unattached rider (Harlan Chapman) hit the front and really accelerated the pace. This guy is a good "pure" climber. He drove the pace all the way to the top and only myself and one of the EMC guys (Nathan) stayed with him. After the descent, Rich Thurman came back and one other guy I don't know but who seemed pretty weakened. The rest of the original break must have been caught.

So, for the rest of the last lap, the EMC guys and myself pulled hardest on the flats and downhills with Harlan leading on all the climbs. The other guy just put in token pulls and skipped some rotations. Apparently the chasers were closer to us than I realized. I did look back at several points and never saw them myself.

Over the Stage hills Harlan was pushing the pace again and complaining about the rest of us. Rich said to him, "You go ahead if you're so fucking strong". Harlan replied that he just did not want to get caught. Rich responded, "You think I want to get caught?" The truth is that I could have worked harder up the hills but I saw no need to myself so I just followed the pace.

When we got to Hwy. 84 on the same gradual uphill I got away on in the first place, I also pulled away without intending to break up the group. However, I sat up as I did not think it was in my interest to solo for the next few miles to Haskins, especially with the two EMC guys who were fairly strong and might work to catch me. Perhaps I might have made it. I'll never know...

At the feedzone, I got a bottle and was gapped some as Rich pushed the pace hard ahead of the climb. I am glad I did as it really revived me a lot and I was able to get back on a wheel just as we hit Haskins Hill (here the weaker rider dropped off). As one might suspect, Harlan went to the front. Rich then really accelerated on the initial hairpin that leads to the climb. It was a sort of Pro tour move and he sustained this effort for maybe a minute. I think he was working for Nathan and trying to discourage attacks. Harlan sort of fell for it and went after him. I knew better. Rich was just too big physically to be a threat on this climb (especially at 18 mph!). We came back to him and after he had recovered for a little while, Rich put in another surge but it had less in it. It was his last.

Now we settled behind Harlan setting what seemed to me a fairly slow pace (around 11 mph -- last year we were climbing the last lap in 35+ 4/5s at more like 13/14 mph). I kept drinking the cold water and poured some over my head. I was not hurting at all. I was the last wheel. At about 1km, Rich slipped back some and I went around him to get behind Nathan. The pace was slowing down more it seemed to me. At about 200 meters, Nathan sprinted ahead of Harlan and there was no response from him. I chased Nathan and I was maybe two bike lengths back at 100 meters but not losing ground and felt pretty strong. I closed the gap to about one bike length at 50 meters and he tried to go faster. I was close to his wheel at maybe 25 meters and I then started to come around him strongly on the outside. Just then some visibly fat dropped Cat. 5 type in a hair shirt jersey is "finishing" in our way nearly in the middle of the road oblivious to anything else. Just as I am really flying by Nathan close to the line, he swerves into my path in part to avoid the other rider and in part probably to block my line and forces me into the center line dots. I try to keep up my sprint/momentum with the rear tire slipping on the centerline dots but obviously I lost some momentum and just before the finish line I was able to get back fully on the pavement To my eye, at the line, it seemed that I beat him by a few inches, but I was not totally sure if that was actually the case, if I was going to be dq'd for centerline (although I never crossed it) or if he might be dq'd for swerving into my line (even if he got me at the line).

Well, long story short, Steephill was not there to capture the "thrilling" photofinish! I guess I was awarded the victory and there was no dq and no protest. Rich Thurman must have passed Harlan in the end for 3rd place also.

So, that's all she wrote!


Symmetric's Eric Wohlberg wins the Pescadero Pro/1/2 race

The winner, Eric Wohlberg (right), powered the winning break with Spine's Colin Cooper (3rd overall) and Webcor's Ted Huang (2nd overall) in tow. Photo credit: Kieran Sherlock

Ted Huang's race report