Manual for Speed was at the Tour of California and talked with various players in the workings of Team Exergy and Team Garmin-Barracuda (now Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) at the end of the long, hot week. We closed out the week with Team Exergy’s Morgan Schmitt after the last day to get his perspective. What follows is in his own words.
“This was my first Tour of California. I’ve been trying to get on a TOC squad for six years. I’ve been racing as a Pro for six years and it is by far the hardest team to get on for a domestic squad. It was great to finally race the tour this year; if they do turn World Tour, which looks like it might happen, then only Pro Tour and Pro Continental Tour teams will be invited. Given that all Continental teams could be excluded from here on out, I’m grateful to be racing this year.
“It’s good to be back racing at this level, as this is where I excel. I’m not great at crits or the shorter races, the harder race the better. We’ve tried to execute our plan as best as possible, but sometimes you don’t have the legs or the position for the last kilometer. This last stage today was the one we were really hoping to get Fred in position at the end, and it didn’t work out. Stage 2 did though, we got Freddie there and he was on the podium.
“Stage 7, Mt. Baldy we had free reign to get into a move, which I nearly did with that Horner move, but I was boxed in and couldn’t get free. I was kicking myself for that, especially since you had to work so hard regardless. The first climb wasn’t so bad for me, personally, but once we went up Glendora, the second climb, everything becomes super difficult. You’re racing with the best climbers in the world at a race like this, so you’re basically hanging on as long as you can. At that point I was trying to help Freddie out for as long as I can, and he ended up finishing well. It really was such a brutal stage.
“Today was a fairly short stage, and being the last one, it was like, “We’re not saving anything for tomorrow or the next day or whenever,” so I took a bit of a gamble. I don’t usually don’t attack; typically I like to follow someone else’s attack. After a fairly weak attack that went off the front but came back quickly though, I just said, “Screw it,” and attacked as hard as I could. Everything kicked up a bit and sure enough there were seven of us out front.