The 2nd hottest race of the year is in the books, and it was a good one (1st hottest, of course, is the one in Memphis this weekend).
This year our field was combined with the JuniorsÃ‚ for the RR and Crit, which ended up impacting how the races played out. The road race was 2 laps of a 16 mile course. When we lined up, I was sizing everyone up when I noticed a fit looking gal with an ironman tattoo and ironman water bottles. I also noticed Amy Floyd, who just started racing this year, and looks like she’s going to be a handful in the near future. When the race started, I hung out a few people back from the front. Ironman gal got stuck up there a little bit (I think that roadies secretly love seeing a triathlete line up because they know that they “like” to take long pulls).
About halfway through the first lap, she seemed to get a little frustrated, and accelerated hard down a slight grade to the bottom of a hill…
The planets of the Counter-Attack Galaxy suddenly became aligned.
I launched up the road. After the initial acceleration, I glanced back- there was a gap. A minute of hard pedaling later, I heard someone behind me. Crap (I thought). However, it was a select group that had made the bridge- Amy, Mignon (from NOBC), and a cat 2 Junior from the Hincapie Developental Team. We started to work. He took a hard pull, and Mignon dropped off. We continued to turn ourselves inside out, and the gap continued to grow. That’s prettymuch how it was for the remainder of the race- Hincapie Kid (who will be referred to as “HK” in the remainder of the post) and I were taking harder pulls, then Amy took a slightly shorter pull while we rested a little. At one point, he started to cramp, but I gave him what was left of my electrolyte drink, and after a few minutes of sitting in, perked back up.
The finish of the race was pretty uneventful. Since I’d helped him out, HK stealthily offered to give me a leadout for the sprint. However, it wasn’t necessary. Since Amy felt like she hadn’t contributed much to the break, she told me that she wasn’t going to sprint (I thought she’d done well, but I wasn’t going to argue). So, when HK started his leadout, I told him to keep going… it was a stellar leadout, but I figured he’d catch hell from his friends for getting beaten by a girl, so I thought I’d be nice since we were being scored seperately. It was a hard-fought win either way. We ended up putting nearly 5 minutes on the field.
The TT that afternoon was as expected- short, hot, and flat. I self-timed a 7:02, and somehow, even though I started my timer at 5 sec to go and hit “stop” in the few seconds following the finish, I ended up with a 7:05. Oh well- I still won, and padded my lead over Amy by an extra 40 seconds.
Sunday morning, we were up and out of the hotel by 6:00. My crit was at 7:30 in downtown NOLA on a techy course through City Park. It featured a little rough pavement, a sharper-than-90 deg turn, and a U-turn around a boulevard. I liked it.
When we lined up, I had a quick chat with HK…
At first I was like, “Hey, we’ve both got a solid lead- you gonna mix it up, or just sit in?”
When the race started, he attacked early. I bridged to him alone and thought for a second that we’d have an awesome 2-person break, but we were reeled back in. Somehow soon after, I got away again. I had a gap for a couple of laps, but they seemed to be letting me dangle out within striking distance, so I grabbed a prime (which ended up being hair care products), then sat up to get re-absorbed. With 4 laps to go, they called a another prime. I was on the front of the group, and tried to bait them in to attacking for it, but they ended up waiting until the last second and popping around me before sitting up. Blah. I attacked anyway, but it didn’t get too far.
On the bell lap, HK attacked around me early. I let him go as leadout bait- which was promptly swallowed by an NOBC Junior and the ironman chick. They realized that they weren’t going to catch him and tried to sit up, but it was too late. As we rounded the next to last corner, I launched. Hard. It was actually the first time I’ve seen 1000+ watts on my powermeter in the post-race download. I won by a few bike-lengths, giving me the hat-trick for the weekend.
Great weekend. I love playing the strategy game. Hopefully, it’ll be just as awesome this weekend when I get to race with the team at the Memphis Velo Omnium.