Patterson Pass is a deceptive course. Trees are almost completely absent, except for some cottonwoods along the sporadic arroyos and a small copse of Eucalyptus inside the hairpin turn climbing up Flynn Rd. The vast yellow rolling hills are almost an optical illusion. If it were not for the spinning windmills covering the range, all sense of depth perception would be erased. Wind is funneled through valleys and dips with surprising strength, and the course constantly dares riders to bite off more than they can chew. In 2012, the race was won from an ambitious 2 rider break consisting of Torey Philipp (Cal Giant) and Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava). In years past, during the era of San Francisco Grand Prix, local riders would show up to the parking lot near Interstate-5 only to see pro teams cars, like Saturn, unloading bikes and famous riders. For the last several years, the race has been more local in participation, but the course is no less daunting.
The P/1/2 Men began their 92 mile race through the cloudy mountain pass at a traditionally early Velopromo start, 8 am. A few attacks did not yield any lasting separation during the first ascent of Patterson which was driven mostly by Tyler Brandt (Get Crackin’).
Climbing Patterson Pass a second time, the peloton was mostly content to remain patient and wait until later for decisive racing. On the backside of the course, climbing Flynn, Art Rand (Marc Pro – Strava) escaped solo by counterattacking a move by Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava). He was brought back into the fold near the top of Flynn, when Harland-Dunaway counterattacked, breaking free again with O’Mara. O’Mara, tired from covering Marc Pro – Strava’s furious barrage, forced Harland-Dunaway to do most of the work in establishing and opening the gap on the field. Once the two began climbing Patterson, O’Mara willingly set solid pace up the mountain. The gap stood between 50-60 seconds.
The revelation of Leesville Gap, Davis Bike Club’s Matt Rodrigues, bridged the gap up to the breakaway in a mere two miles of climbing and began to set a breakneck pace. The three breakmates settled into a steady pace on Flynn before the descent down Altamount. Suddenly, the gap fell from 1:15 to 20 seconds due to a concerted chase by Fremont Bank, Ariel Herrmann (Metromint) and Master’s mountain goat legend, Chris Phipps (Iron Data Thirsty Bear).
Brandon Trafton (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase), seized the moment and bridged across to the breakaway with a remarkable turn of speed. The breakaway began to reopen the gap after serious effort by all 4 riders. As soon as the gap was open, Harland-Dunaway resigned from work to allow the 2 Mike’s Bikes riders to keep the break alive. Trafton attacked the disorganization and O’Mara was dropped, partly due to a tough 3 laps in the breakaway and partly to allow the break to reattain its tactical cohesiveness.
Rodrigues and Harland-Dunaway set pace on the final ascent of Patterson Pass before plummeting downwards to the start of the climb up Flynn. The three riders worked together until they neared the top, when Harland-Dunaway attacked. The rider from Marc Pro – Strava had a 10 second gap over the top. Rodrigues cramped during the response to the attack while Trafton bided his time for a couple of moments before setting off alone after Harland-Dunaway.
Trafton grew closer and closer until Harland-Dunaway decided to make an all-out bid to sustain his gap. One-on-one, they raced down Altamount towards the final two power climbs before the finish. Crawling through the crosswinds up the final kicker, Trafton began to make headway as Harland-Dunaway started to cramp up ahead – he crested while barely preventing his left leg from seizing entirely. Harland-Dunaway held the gap together, winning the 2013 edition of Patterson Pass completely spent. Trafton and Rodrigues finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, while Adam Switter (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) beat Justin Rossi in a two-up sprint for 4th.
“This is my biggest one-day race win, easily,” wrote Harland-Dunaway to NCCN. “The field on Sunday was really good, stronger than last year, so that was extremely satisfying. I got dropped from the front group last year too.”
Harland Dunaway has his eyes on winning the overall Cal Cup title and will be hitting up each of the events to accumulate as many points as possible. Harland Dunaway, has progressed steadily this season, and after his Cal Cup campaign will be looking to take on some of the hillier NRC events in 2014.
Major contribution for the article from C.Harland Dunaway:)
Powered by Facebook Comments