Three Rivers Rumble
It’s been a while since I’ve had to write one of these! I took a little bit of mid season break (somewhat unplanned thanks to pulling out of a couple of XTERRA’s due to weather) but it has given me a chance to really put in some serious work on the bike. I capped off this bike block with my second go at a road race. It’s always fun lining up on these things since I’m known more around here as a triathlete rather than a pure cyclist. I enjoy the change of pace at a pure cycling event, though. It’s nice to not have to think about saving any legs for a run off the bike. It’s just about putting everything you have into the bike effort. I had no real expectations for today’s race since the only other road race I have done was the Oak Ridge Velo earlier this season. I had a pretty successful day finishing on the podium out of a successful 5 man break-away. If you want to hear how the day unfolded, just read on Dear Children!
I arrived at the race around 11am, a little under 2 hours before my race went off at 12:50. I found a good parking spot with some room and deployed my new CVT awning for some shade/rain cover during my warmup. It worked perfectly! I set my trainer up and, after getting my numbers and pinning them on my jersey (the correct way this time.. Thanks Michaela!), hopped on the bike to warmup. I had a prescribed 35 minute warmup from Coach Lana which did a great job of getting my legs ready. This race has no neutral roll out so it’s go time on the whistle. The course also kicks up straight away so the legs need to be ready to go.
Warmup complete, it was time to go line up. The race plan was to stay near the front, do as little work as possible and try to hit a break-away if it formed. On the whistle we rolled out and the pace started quite managable. I sized up several guys pretty quick who looked like they knew what they were doing and started trying to recruit them into trying to break. After several unsuccessful attempts I had almost given up hope on a break but I gave it one more shot off of a left hander heading toward the climb. I got a good gap and could see there was one guy coming across to me. I let him catch in hopes we could make a go of it. He didn’t have the strength to pull once he caught me though and I shut it down. Luckily, we hit the climb soon after and we managed to get a group of 5 guys away on the descent. It was a bit of a shock but I looked back and there was no one there!! I yelled to the other guys that we had a gap and we needed to work. We worked very well together rotating through and sharing the work until the penultimate climb of the day. It was there than on a little roller one guy put in a small attack. Another guy went with him and, since I was already deep in the hurt locker, I decided to let them go and just try to reel them back slowly. It was all I could do anyway. With only one more turn to go onto the highway they had somewhere around 10 seconds on the other three of us. We tried to pull them back but the legs just weren’t there. After dropping the third of our trio, the other two of us sprinted for third. It was very close but I barely got him at the line for the final podium spot.
I really enjoyed this race. It was fun to actually get a break-away to succeed. I also feel like I was one of the main contributors to that group’s success. I do consider myself more a “super domestique” than a podium contender in most situations but it was fun being on the pointy end of the classification and getting to stand on the steps (even though I wasn’t eligible for a medal since I don’t have a yearly USA Cycling membership). Maybe next year I’ll put a little more effort into bike racing, who knows?! For now, it’s just fun to be the triathlete in a cyclist party.