2000 TOUR OF GERMANY RUNNER-UP UPS THE ANTE ON SUNSET
Saturn Cycling's Soren Peterson Shows up on Tuesday night
I didn't know who he was when he first rolled up, but I could tell that he was from Saturn/Lemond's professional road cycling team. There were a number of hints that would lead one to believe that this guy was the real deal: his titanium Lemond frame (equipped with Dura-Ace components, his clean & bright Saturn Cycling bib and jersey, his 150-pound, 6-foot physique and his accent. It was after the ride that I signed on to www.saturncycling.com and discovered that he was Soren Peterson. His recent results include third in the General Classification at the 2002 Redlands Bicycle Classic. His best day was in the Oak Glen Road Race (ouch!), where he finished third being World XC Champion Rohland Green and event winner Chris Horner. I'm still more impressed by his Tour of Germany runner-up finish.
Actual turnout was a little low (about 35) and the Vertican brothers, who tend to set & control the pace were absent. (They went to Durango for the NORBA Nat'l.) The pace started out slower than usual and I was fine with that even though I was aboard a featherweight carbon fiber Trek 5900 that a friend lended me. It was only my second ride (first Tuesday night) on the Lance Armstrong replica, but I was mentally and physically prepared to do it justice by putting in a respectable effort. With the Vertican's absence I saw the opportunity to advance myself in the pecking order. As the ride contiuned no one attacked and everyone seemed to be fine with that, although we still dropped a lot of people before peaking Sunset on the first go-around. The lack of an attack actually made me nervous because it meant everyone in our seven-man break was saving their legs and lungs for a massive surge on the third lap. And even worse, just before starting our third lap we added three fresh pair of legs or our break. Three riders, one each from Jelly Belly, Cycle-Tek & 7UP must have gotten a late start because they were waiting for us. When I saw them I immediately thought, "Damn, those guys are fresh and they're going to blow us to bits." Their legs may have been fresh, but they were also cold because it didn't take long before we dropped them too.
After passing Caroline Park Josh Underwood took over the lead and I took his wheel, sitting in a perfect spot to react to a Peterson attack. I was beginning to feel a little guilty for not taking over the workload, but I had already done my part and was saving myselft for whatever may occur. Waiting, waiting, waiting. . . Nothing. Then Josh pulled to the left to signal that he was done and I was left with no choice but to take over. 30 seconds later I heard gears clicking up and Peterson and a Jelly Belly hammered by in big ring. I quickly responded and followed, tyring to stay on the Jelly Belly's wheel. I did, but he couldn't stay on Peterson's wheel so he waved me by and I tried for myself. With a gap of about two bike lengths between Peterson and myself, the gentleman Saturn rider from Denmark looked back, acknowledged us, and then skipped a few pedal strokes allowing myself and the Jelly Belly to catch up. From there the three of us tempoed to the top of Sunset, followed shortly by Josh, Trevor Walton, Austin Mortimer, and couple Trek/VW and Jelly Belly riders. About thirty other riders, who had only completed two loops waited for us at the usual regrouping point on the corner of Sunset and Alta Vista.
I opted to skip the rough and bumpy ride down Live Oak and San Tim Canyons to salvage the race wheels on my borrowed Trek. I already love that bike.
It was my best Sunset performance ever and learning a little bit more about the Saturn rider whose wheel I rode made it even sweeter. Had I known who he was at the actual time of the ride, it probably would have freaked me out mentally and I would have allowed myself to get dropped. It's starting to seem like road bikes agree with me more than mountain bikes. . .
"I don't have ulcers. I give 'em!" - Lyndon B. Johnson