The Successful Living Pro Cycling Team kicked off its 2008 season at the Sequoia Cycling Classic 40-kilometre time trial on Saturday and a 90-minute criterium on Sunday. They earned a second-place finish in the criterium by Cody O'Reilly and an eighth place in the race against the clock by junior Michael Grabinger.
The team started the week with an intense training camp in Ventura, California, where they logged an average of five to six hours per day in the saddle. The time trial in Exeter, California, was a long out-and-back course that would give a preview of the fitness levels of the competition in the early season. "I really wanted to get on the podium but I gave it everything and even after a 40-hour ride week I was less than 30 seconds off my goal, so you can't be disappointed with that," said Grabinger. Successful Living placed four riders in the top 20, which was the most of any team represented.
On Sunday's criterium, most major domestic pro teams were present and the pace was blazing from the start gun. With constant attacks the peloton was single-file for most of the race. Successful Living was represented in every serious move with Curtis Gunn, Brian Jensen and Grabinger.
20 laps to go, new team member Charles Dionne was involved in a nasty crash and unfortunately broke his elbow. The original plan to set up Dionne for the finish shifted to plan B with the team quickly regrouping and working for the team's young gun, Cody O'Reilly.
In the end, the battle of the lead-out trains began. In the final lap, it was Successful Living and Colavita/Sutter Home side-by-side, leaving their designated sprinters to finish the job. Cody O'Reilly was narrowly beaten by Sebastian Haedo of Colavita/Sutter Home. "The team was amazing!" said O'Reilly. "They gave it everything and I could not have done this without them. You are going to be seeing a lot of our team this year on the front!"
Next on tap is the San Dimas stage race, March 28th-30th.