Teammates: Mark Kurashige, Jim Werle
Conditions were chilly in arm warmers and vest at the start but soon heated up toasty conditions in the shade. From what I remember last time I did this race I got dropped on Bear Creek pretty quickly so I hoped to do better, but we had a longer flat run into this part of the course with the latest configuration. Felt pretty good and made it to the base of Mama Bear with the group. This hill only takes about three minutes with the group, unfortunately this was only good enough to best about ten guys and this left about thirty five in the main group. There was a scary encounter with a cow in the middle of the road just before Papa Bear where I had to slow significantly and our little groupetto had to hope the cow made no sudden moves. My right calf started getting a knot but I still felt really good otherwise. The descents after the finish hill were really fun, long sight distance and lots of shoulder so hitting 40+ mph was fun and fairly safe. About eight of us including Mark K worked for one lap after the descent so I decided just to have fun with this little race within the race and never felt in danger of getting dropped except for the bothersome calf. On the last lap on the little steep climb before San Pablo Dam road my right calf which had been quivering every now and then took the opportunity to seize up and I could not pedal any more so I had to stop for a minute. One of the course marshals was nice enough to get me a short massage but I had gotten gapped by the others and would not see them again until after the finish.