Justin Eagleton – 1st, MC, UCLA Road Race, 2/18/2012

This was my first race as a C and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Well, I knew there was going to be a lot of climbing, meaning that I might have the opportunity to do alright (since after fresno the week before it seems like I can’t really do much else…). Also, I knew I had a more experienced teammate, Scott, racing along side me, which would make it all the more fun . For our race, we would be doing 2 laps on the 12 point something mile course that was basically either up or down the whole way.

When the group started it was still freezing out, and things were pretty slow going, even for a climb straight out of the gate. A little ways before the start of the first descent Scott went for a small attack, probably just to breath a little life into the race, but was caught during the start of the descent. But, that was pretty much a given because of the amount of both headwinds and cross winds during the down hill. The pack pretty much stayed together through the descent and up through the start of the longer climb into lap 2. After crossing the line, the group picked up the pace a little bit and another UCSD rider attacked and got off the front. He managed to stay off the front past the stair steps and into the start of the second descent, before a UCSB rider said we should go chase. So Scott, him and I, as well as some other riders started to pace line and up the speed, catching the solo rider in pretty short order. At some point in that process, however, our group of 9 managed to get a pretty big gap on the main peloton, as I looked back pretty close to the bottom of the descent and saw follow cars instead of other riders. Then we rounded the corner at the bottom and started really pushing towards the end.

Scott and I were mostly hanging out in the back of this group, both trying to take as little wind as possible before anyone tried to attack for the finish. Scott had already decided he was going to work for me earlier on, so as we came pretty close to the end, the point where I was expecting someone to try and attack, he put in a good effort to bring me up front. If I had had more in the tank I might have tried to go off then, but after my mistake at boulevard I decided to wait to see if anyone else would go and pushed my way into second in line. As we got closer, still no one attacked until just as the grade kicks up maybe 50ft or less from the finish. At that point the same UCSB rider jumped and everyone basically put in everything they had. Thankfully I had just enough to get around him and push through for the win. After crossing the line I realized that my legs have never hurt that bad on a bike…¬†Overall, it was an awesome first C’s race, and thanks to a teammate, a course suited to my style, and probably some luck, I managed to cross the line first and score my first race win. Hopefully there might be more of those in the future.

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