Spencer Downing, my teammate on the Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek Development Team and I were looking to get some race training in so we headed to California for the Tour de Murrieta. Stage 1 was a straight forward crit circuit, until it started bucketing down rain, then it became very technical. Spencer and I were way outnumbered, but we read the race early on to be a big arm wrestle...it had to be a sprint. We just saved energy for the finale. We battled through the chaos to be 3rd wheel on the last lap, and into the long finish straight. In the end I tried to kick but just had nothing there, I got passed a by a few riders and finished 6th.
Stage 2 was a circuit race of 16 x 6km laps, super fast and flowing. We read the race that it was going to be a break later on due to the speed early on, and certain riders in the field. Unfortunately again, we were right, we just weren’t in the break of 5 that stayed away to win the race. We were aggressive and in all moves for 10 laps and were marked a lot, but made an error of missing this particular one. We tried to bridge in a small group, but trying to drag race Robin Carpenter (who was in the break of 5 and won) was too much to ask. With 2 laps to go we followed a timely move and Spencer played defense to ensure it stayed away, going back to the peloton and marking counters. It stayed away, and ultimately I beat the other 7 riders in the break to come 6th, putting me 4th overall, 1 point behind 3rd and 2 points behind 2nd. It was a good recovery from a race deciding mistake, and plenty to build on. We definitely do not have race speed in the legs 😂 though doing this race was very beneficial for us in more ways than one. Looking forward to building from this weekend, onwards!
Great thanks to our host family James and Fiona Hilyer for opening their home to us and making racing around the country affordable to young talent trying to make it big!
Photo credit to Rocky Ehrich