Thompson wins Fort Ord Championship
Editor’s note: This is a first-person account from Truckee High senior Trevor Thompson on the Ford Ord Championship (cycling) Road Race in Monterey on Aug. 5. Thompson, who has been cycling competitively for two years and is a first-year member of Sacramento-based Team Spine, races as a Junior in hopes of soon moving up to Pro.
After getting two second places and one fourth place in Junior Championship races before, I really wanted to win one and get the Teddy Bear jersey before I moved up from Juniors. And this was my last chance to win one.
The race started off pretty fast ” or faster than I expected ” with Tieni Duro (the best represented team) setting the tempo. Within the first 10 minutes there were a couple of attacks, but nothing that drew any concern as they were all brought back.
Joe (Trujillo), Collin (Samaan) and I were working well countering off of each other, and we quickly got Joe up the road with a Tieni Duro rider. It was perfect: The two strongest teams had the only two riders up the road.
At this point I just tried to stay in the top five and sit on wheels, block and cover any attacks. Collin and I both did our share of that as well as riders from Tieni Duro. No one really did any work to bring the break back and the other teams never really got organized ” except for Alta Alpina, which would have one rider at the front setting the tempo.
For the most part, it was JP LeClair, from Tieni Duro, and I (or Collin) sitting on their wheels and enjoying the ride. After three and a half laps, Tieni Duro’s Andy Goesling had gotten dropped by Joe. So Tieni Duro had three or four riders go to the front and chase Joe down. Collin and I did our best to mess them up and block, but Joe was caught about 10 minutes later.
After Joe was brought back, the attacks started to come.
Collin and I worked off each other in hopes of getting one of us off the front, and we also covered attacks from other riders. After a half lap of that, things settled down.
On one of the flatter parts of the course with two laps to go, I was riding at the front, not hammering, just relaxing. Looking over my shoulder and seeing that I had a small gap, I slowed up so the group could catch up. Then I took another look and saw Collin at the front slowing things down. So I started to peddle.
Knowing I was solo and had around 20 miles to go, I took a very conservative approach, barely going above level 2 (heart rate). But when I looked back again, the group was out of sight. When we hit the rollers, JP and Nick Ruana, from Alta Alpina, had bridged up. At that point, with three riders and knowing that Collin and Joe were blocking for me ” along with Tieni Duro blocking for JP ” we could stay away. We started to work together, making strong and fast pulls, and we started to roll.-
Nick had spent a lot of time chasing Joe down earlier and his pulls where slower than ours. When we hit the climb for the first time I went to the front and picked up the tempo in an effort to shake Nick.
By the time we reached the top, Nick was gone. After that, JP and I worked very well together. JP had mentioned earlier about trying to get into a break. We had tried a few times before, but this time we finally got one to stick.
On the last lap on the turnaround, we could see that we had a huge gap. We kept a good pace through the rollers and on the decent, and then we hit the final climb.
We both started and kept the same tempo, not trying anything to fancy. About halfway up, we talked and shook hands. Then I attacked.
When I looked under my shoulder I saw I had a little gap, but JP had closed it. I thought that my move had just lost me the race, but I stayed on the front and drilled it. He started to drop back. At the top of the climb I had a pretty big gap and I could see the finish about 700 meters away.
Coming into the last 500 meters, I knew I had won. Those last 500 meters felt so relaxing.
Winning this race meant so much to me, and I know that there was no way I could have won if I didn’t have the team I did. I won because of what they did and how they raced.