Mark Duncan - NorCal Race #3 - Central Coast Challenge

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NorCal race number 3 also known as the Central Coast Challenge, was another spectacular race. As usual it started with an early morning wake up, we had just enough time to stop by Starbucks on the way to the venue to grab some oatmeal for my breakfast. I was unusually not as nervous as the prior races, so it was a little easier to get down my breakfast. When I arrived to the venue I went straight to the team tent for the team meeting. Until the start of the varsity women’s race I was able to chill out. Before I knew it the varsity women were off and I had to go get my bike race ready, by putting the race wheels on and making sure everything was primed and ready to go. Soon after I was able to catch the end of the varsity women’s race where my teammate Grace Murphy came in victorious yet again. I then continued on my warm up. I went to the road nearby and just started going down it, this is where I discovered a long uphill that was very secluded, just as I like my warm ups. I went up the hill doing sprints throughout and coasted on back down, and pedaled straight to the start line. I got back just in time to be called in for staging. This is where the other leader of my category greeted me. (Blake Macheras) we soon got called up to the start line and still oddly enough I wasn’t as nervous as the two prior races. Next thing I knew we were hammering up the first hill at the start. Me and Blake built our usual gap and were on our way. Blake kept pulling for a little more than a quarter of the lap, this is where I kept my comfortable pace for the rest of the lap until we looked around again. The second and final lap I started pulling later than i did on the first lap. We were coming up towards the end of our final lap and my mind was racing with strategies, and all well knowing that it would be a sprint finish. Blake blasted ahead of me right before some single track which gave him the upper hand going into the finish. We came around the last tight turn before the finish line wheel on wheel, and I knew I had to put everything into this final sprint so I gave it 110% to try and pass before the finish line. We passed the finish at the same time. It was so close we had to wait for photo finish to be examined by NorCal. Blake gave 110% on the finish line sprint too. Actually he gave even more as he puked right after the finish. I have tons of respect for Blake pushing himself that far.

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Twenty minutes later we heard over the loud speaker that Blake had come in victorious. We finished on the same 100th of a second, talk about close. Although disappointed that I didn’t win, I couldn’t of had a more fun and well fought race. I look forward to the next race with a 4 week gap in between for some hard training, and hopefully a victorious outcome next time.

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