A Different View – 2007 Men’s PRO 1/2, 7 Laps - 81 miles
Richard Murphy at the helm of David Bales’ truck and with me riding shotgun, the Wheel Vehicle was in capable hands. The field gently rolled out for Lap 1 with Brent Prenzlow sitting at the very back. Where was John Behrens?
The pack was just cruising. A La Grange rider (Marco Rios) pulls up next to the truck. His front Ksyrium ES is making a ticking sound. I apologize that we don’t have any neutral wheels. He calmly nods his head and works his way back through the cars. That’s going to be annoying. We catch back up to the peloton and one rider takes the opportunity to take a leak. He did it without unzipping his jersey. Richard explains to me how the Velcro fly works.
Lap 2 up the climb it was ON - 20 mph on the speedometer! Where was John? As we came up to the feed zone, Tony working the corner since 3am told us John was up the road at 1:38. As we weaved our way through the carnage, we catch the chase group with BP sitting on and making every move. The boys lap the Pro women on the climb, who had they own drama playing out with SBW leading the way. We sit tight to allow the race to develop. Coming through Lap 4 we catch John’s group on Camino Del Rey, and they are fried. They’ve been reeled in and left to die. Dazed and confused they start attacking each other as the new lead group is still within sight. Richard sensing that a lack of organization and the wicked headwind has sealed their doom, pulls us up to the next group up the road.
Brent’s group is full bore with guys riding till they crack. We stay with them till it’s down to BP and two friends – Mark Fennell (Hazards) and Matt Shechtman (Cycle Science). Boy, it is hot. Brent told me he went through 9 bottles out on the course. What would he have done without Gail in the feed zone? The motorcycle calls us up to the break. A break of 6, has about 1:30 on the BP trio – Thurlow Rogers (Vision Velo), Neil Shirley (Jittery Joes), Rigo Meza (Coates Cyclery), Dan Vinson (5 Star Fish), and two La Grange riders - Carlos Mayoral and Marco Rios. Marco with his ticking wheel has made the move. The lead group rotates smoothly and hits the descent on the Bell Lap.
[3-man chase group: Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific), Matt Shechtman (Cycle Science), and Mark Fennel (Hazards)]
Lap 7 - Neil looks great as he’s constantly checking the gap as well as the other riders. Just past the 15 freeway Carlos is having trouble. He’s assumed the position but just can’t make up the ground that he has lost. They take the right turn under the overpass and Marco is doing everything to get his teammate back. He’s yelling his name and franticly waving his arms like a windmill. Neil and Thurlow gesture to him to keep rotating, but he’s still looking back. Approaching the climb they’re gearing for battle.
[Lead 5 - Dan Vinson (5-Star), Neil Shirley (Jittery Joes), Rigo Meza (Coat's), Marco Rios (LaGrange), and Thurlow Rogers (Vision Velo)]
Thurlow sits up to adjust his helmet, Neil checks his cleats, Rigo adjusts his jersey, Marco is looking back, and Dan is in deep thought. Up the climb and into the S, Thurlow starts it off with two attacks – 53/15? The second one really hurt Dan as he’s fighting to stay on.. Into the dip and onto the top we’re waiting for the next wave of attacks… nothing. Rigo is always 2nd or 3rd wheel. Neil still looks the best with his head up and his cadence high. Everyone must be feeling it. Dan is back and moves to the outside with 400 meters to go, just as Thurlow fires it up with Rigo and Neil just behind. Past the trees and into the finish a single arm is raised. It is Rigo Meza and he is just stoked. The rest of the order is Neil, Marco, Thurlow, Dan, Carlos, and BP. This has to be the coolest road course in socal. Brent has his own story to tell about his impressive 7th place finish and John will be attacking again at a race near you. A service to my club made for an interesting view from the back.