John Tomlinson – 2nd place Crit – Men’s As, Cal Poly

Fight on! John Tomlinson

“I am going to quit…” I kept telling myself this over, and over again in the criterium race Sunday in San Luis Obispo. My legs were in so much pain. Not a good pain, a blocked, hurt muscle pain. I had raced in cold, wet conditions the day before, and my legs seemed to be telling me just that. Between a good block of training, and the cold, my legs were ready for a day off. Cal Poly Wheelman found the hardest 0.6km circuit they could in the area, which did not help my situation. It was a good-sized hill, downhill tight two corners, and a false-flat uphill headwind to the line.

We had stayed at a Cal Poly Cyclist’s apartment the night before (very generous, if I might add) and our newest, and very ambitious rider Luke Walker woke up early for his first ever crit. When he came back he had a huge grin on his face and said “that was so much fun!” Hearing that from a guy new to bike racing was probably more satisfying then any result I have gotten all year.

My race time crept up on us and I was as ready as I was going to be. After a quick parade lap with some Cal Poly VIP’s, it was race time. I took the front immediately as it was a technical course, I did not want to get caught out early, and I needed a warm up. Attacks began to fly early, as it was not that long of a race. At this point, my legs were screaming, but I tried to fake it as best I could. A break went off with two good friends, Cody O’rielly and Stephen Leece, from Santa Barbara and one other Davis rider.

I knew that I could not let that roll away. I put in a hard effort, and caught the move. After a few laps the field was strung out, but for the most part patched back together. I knew that if I wanted to get off the front now was the time to go. Going into a points lap, I hit it. My legs finally feeling like what a bike racer’s legs should feel like! I put my head down and went. I looked back and had Cody O’rielly with me and we had a gap. We began to rotate and soon got out of sight. Virginia, Luke, and Ben were yelling time gaps and it sounded like at one point we had forty-five seconds. Cody and I were pretty civil, I tried to lose him on the climb the last few laps but it was not happening. He made me look like a child in the sprint, and I rolled in second.

All in all, a fun weekend with friends and a great race at Cal Poly. Thanks so much to Danny Heeley for letting us stay on his couch, and Kat from SLO for putting a roof over our heads! Round of applause for Cal Poly!

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