Long Beach Shoreline Circuit Race

February 25, 2007

 

Race Report by: Mark Campaigne (Celo Pacific Racing Team)

 

The Starbucks in Long Beach seemed as good a place as any to pull over for a pit stop before heading over to the course.  On another perfect day for racing in Southern California, we waited outside for the rest of the team contemplating the day ahead.  As he stepped out of the van, it immediately hits me this guy is not your typical Starbucks patron stopping off on his way to church (despite the nice grey suit) this Sunday morning. 

 

“Is that…?...What the…?...No way - yeah it’s him…” we mumbled to each other.

 

“How’s it going guys?” he says as he walks past. 

 

“Hey Floyd” we respond in unison before the door closes behind him.  Staring at each other now in silent amazement, its Julie who speaks first…”he won the tour de France…He WON the tour de France…HE WON THE TOUR DE FRANCE!!”  I think she’s starting to hyperventilate now.  I run back to the car to grab the camera and a pen for an autograph.  The reality finally hits us and by the time he walks out, the stunned-dear-in-the headlights affect has worn off.  Realizing we’re cyclists in town for the race, Floyd Landis graciously sets down his venti-latte-triple-whatever, shakes hands, signs some autographs, and even poses for photos.  We thank him profusely and he’s on his way. 

 

So at 7:45 am it’s already a successful trip and we haven’t even pinned our numbers on yet.  At the start line it’s me, Blair, Phillip, and Chan representing Celo Pacific among the massive 140 man field.  Having recently upgraded, this is my first pure Cat-3 race, so I’m a little nervous.  The course is a three mile circuit with two 180 degree turns and a surface punctuated with several pot holes, reflector bumps, and potentially dangerous concrete seams.  The crowds are big in anticipation of the Tour of California race which will follow ours on the same course. 

 

Goals for today: Work on staying a little closer together throughout the race; swarm the front on the last lap to keep it strung out; get at least one of the Celo boys in the top-10; keep an eye on the breaks and make sure we’re in on the action if one gets away. 

 

The first few laps of the 60 minute race were uneventful, but Blair was feeling good and decided to launch a break with one other guy.  I moved to the front to block and did my best at “glass cranking”.  It wasn’t long before others realized it was my teammate in the break, but the organization wasn’t good so I was able to sit three riders back and create gaps that disrupted things a bit.   Unfortunately, two guys versus 140 weren’t going to stick, but it was a great effort by Blair.  Once he was reeled in we worked on staying together.  We were all feeling pretty good and figured Blair or Phillip would be the best bet going into the sprint.  I knew I had at least one hard effort in me, but there were some strong teams out there who would be working a lead out, so getting one of our guys in position with 700-500 meters to go would be critical.  I stayed toward the front and felt that calm-before-the-storm let up in pace with about a half mile to go.  Not wanting our guys to get stuck in the back I kicked into gear and strung it out.  Looking over my shoulder I could see Phillip was in good position about 10-15 riders back.  One more burst and I pulled off.  The sprint started way early, and as other teams swarmed the front, Philip found himself having to tap the brakes in the final meters, costing him several spots.  He pulled down 17th for the team which was a great result considering the size of the field. 

 

 

My new training partners!

2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, Mark Campaigne (Celo Pacific), Blair Burton (Celo Pacific)

Photo by David Howell

 

 

 

Mark Campaigne (right) - Photo by Julie Howell