This was a weekend that almost wasn’t.
I could have gone mountain bike racing in Southern Missouri. But that would’ve been a long drive, and without the greater fitness benefits of road racing. Not too mention all the teamwork, camaraderie, and fun.
Saturday’s road race went… okay. Lots of second guessing going on the interwebs, some taking more blame then they should… hindsight is always 20/20, folks. We had two guys in a break that was eventually absorbed for a field sprint. I think teammates may have been counting on my for the Cat 3 win. I worked hard at the 55ish mile mark to reel in another Cat 3 that tried a solo flier… a match I didn’t want to burn. As the finish approached, I was trying to stay out of the wind and save the legs for one last jump… Mark Merritt jumped waaaay too early and I was in a bad spot. I know better– I should’ve been closer to the front. I still sprinted and made up a few spots, fifth across the line in the combined 1/2/3 field, but…. 2nd in the 3′s. Lee Bumgarner had a good sprint.
Better positioning on my part, maybe I could’ve made things turn out differently. Maybe. Last year I cramped pretty bad in the sprint but managed a 3rd place (amongst 3′s). This year I worked harder during the event, and felt more fresh for the sprint. Feels like progress. Nice to see Mark Savery have a great sprint– missed overall win by a hair, but got the Nebraska State Championship (as the guy in yellow is from Colorado).
Saturday night of recovery tights, salmon, sweet potatoes, and some mini golf left me excited and nervous for Sunday’s criterium. Last year I fell off the pace after a ridiculously hard start and too many hard pulls. Stretching, recovery, and eating right, I hoped to make a difference. We had a fresh teammate coming into Sunday, Lucas Marshall. But Kaos had a couple fresh guys too.
Things went about perfectly– teammates Lucas (Cat 3) & Paul Webb (Cat 2) launched an early attack. I worked with teammates to block and chase down a few folks. Mark’s “old school blocking tactics” were the most effective I’ve ever seen at the front of a group– and Lucas & Paul are a perfect pair to pull off a break– and it worked. When the bell rang for one lap, I saw Savery start to pin it. I hesitated for a moment– he’s a teammate, not my job to reel him in or help others stay with him– but as soon as I heard guys coming around me hard I jumped. I sat about 4th or 5th wheel through a blazing fast lap and went hard into the last corner. It was a long sprint– Mark stayed ahead, a think at least one Cat 2 used me for a good lead out, and I managed to be the first Cat 3 across the line from the bunch, and 2nd Cat 3 to teammate Lucas Marshall– a place I can definitely be proud of. I did some work for teammates, disrupted a few chase attempts, and still managed a decent sprint at the end.
I think I want to do more crit races. Oh, and power numbers from the crit indicate that fitness is on the way up. That means intervals just got harder. Woohoo!