Treated to some great weather for the first race of the 2017 VCL season, Maxim, Eugene and myself lined up with a great winter of training under our respective chamois'. Unexpectedly off the start I found myself with a little gap as the bunch decided to ease into things. I was quickly joined by Mitch from the Smart Savy team. The legs had felt good on the ride out to the Highlands and after being closely buzzed by a rumbling Harley on the Langford off-ramp I think a few extra hormones had rattled free. Mitch said "I thought you'd do that", I smiled, and we set to work.
Carving out good smooth turns we worked well together, minimizing unnecessary watts. As the laps ticked by our confidence grew that maybe this would work. Encouragement from the finish crew and the turn-2 marshal really helped keep our spirits up. Back in the bunch Eugene and Maxim were chasing things down and waiting for the right bridging attempt. We had a good hand here with the other teams forced to chase. With 3 laps to go I was starting to feel this could stick, but a lap later and suddenly a bridge group of four riders were coming into view from behind. Mitch perhaps caught glimpse that his teammate Chris was in the bridging bunch and dropped back to them. I couldn't see if Eugene or Maxim were there so I soldiered on with a respect to reserve something for the catch. Through the bell lap and I now knew they would catch me. Out of corner 1 we became grouppo-compacto. The only rider I recall seeing was Riley from TripleShot, and he was breathing quite hard so I attacked once, attacked twice and was away again. Only afterwards did I learn Eugene was in the group as well and was planning the same move had I not gone so soon. Eugene reports the others looked at each other to take up the chase, wasting valuable time to reel me in. I put the head down along the back stretch and crossed the win for a Wheeler win. Eugene won the sprint from the group and we were 1-2! It was a very successful weekend for the club to begin 2017 racing from all groups, good times to be Wheeler!
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