The Bantam Classic is a local race to Petaluma, Calif. that is in its third year.
|Bantam Classic branded shirts were in high demand.|
On Friday, March 6, Yuri was consistently checking off the final necessities. I was fortunate enough to drive the full course with Yuri, for a few course markings, to give me a complete understanding of race affairs.
In addition to pre-riding a majority of the course on Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6, I was dialed for a Bantam Classic.
On the evening of Friday, March 6, Yuri, Vanessa, and I managed to knock out final administrative tasks.
|Primed Marin and Specialized bicycles.|
|Yuri and I wore GU branded "toques" on a chilly morning.|
|The masses were assembling early.|
I rolled out behind Geoff Kabush. Kabush is a multi-time Canadian national champion, in both the mountain and cyclocross disciplines. He has also won the U.S. National cross-country and short track cross-country series multiple times, while being a three-time Olympian.
I spoke with Katerina Nash. Nash is a four-time Olympian and winner of both cross-country and cyclocross World Cup events, along with being a Czechoslovakian National Champion.
Levi Leipheimer was on my wheel. Leipheimer is a former professional road cyclist, who has won U.S. National Championship events, claimed Olympic medals, won a variety of stage races, and placed top-five in both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.
Alison Tetrick and Barry Wicks were also in attendance.
After accepting the impressive company that surrounded me, it was time to mentally prepare for a challenging event.
The Bantam Classic is modeled after a Belgian classic, with punchy climbing, sharp descents, and the worst roads that Sonoma County has to offer.
After the first two climbs, a select group of about 20 cyclists had formed, with some riders dwindling off the front. At times, the group was strung out, with one or two riders escaping. I was reminded of my Belgian racing experience this past summer.
By now, I was very comfortable and settling in well. Both GU Electrolyte Brew drink mix and GU Energy Gels kept me well nourished and free of issues, throughout the morning.
|GU Energy Labs generously provided race nutrition.|
Levi Leipheimer was solo and he would eventually win. A limited group was second on the road. I was placed in a third group, with approximately fifteen riders.
The finish took place on one final kicker, which numerous riders mistimed. Fortunately, Yuri and I possessed inside knowledge and we went late, to finish in the front of our group. I finished ninth and Yuri took 10th, for a rad day on the road!
After processing the conflicting measures of sheer enjoyment and fatigue, I rolled back to Lagunitas Brewing Company, for the after-party.
|Lagunitas Brewing Company was a popping location.|
|Katerina Nash could not be more friendly.|
Overall, Northern California does racing right and I had an absolutely amazing weekend!