March 24, 2008

2000 Masters Nationals - Road Race

Road Race:
Finally on Sunday came the last event – the vaunted road race. As I’d ridden the course the day before I felt confident that I’d be able to stay with the field at the minimum and maybe make the right tactical decision too! The race started off fast and easy…100 guys rolling along flat roads is pretty easy to sit in on. There were a few attacks, but as most riders were strong and motivated nothing stuck. It stayed this way for the first hour or so. I kept a steady rhythm near the front, trying not to do too much work in the wind and saving myself for the coming crux. The course only had one climb to speak of, the feed zone, but it had a nice set of rollers about 6 miles prior that could prove to be a good launch pad for a winning move. Sure enough up the first of four or five rollers a group rolled off hard, I knew it was dangerous and was well placed near the front as it was brought to heel as we turned onto the next small climb. Boom! Another attack, but I’m ready and jump it straight away. Just like everyone else. Then a third attack, this one gets a small gap so we bring it back and I’m starting to feel the accelerations. Just like that three guys roll off the front as I’m sitting there in a lactic acid haze. I just knew, knew that was the move so I dropped the hammer to try to get across, but my hammer was more of a ball peen than a sledge and I was quickly put back in the fold as we rolled towards the inevitable surges and covers on the feed hill. The three riders were working well and had a couple of teammates to block. As they hovered in the 1 minute range it became clear that they weren’t coming back. As frustrating as it was, no one wanted to chase and so we just let ‘em go. Onto the feed hill and a flurry of half hearted attacks never pushed to the limit – a nice stretch of the rubber band, but no snap! After that the field just rolled in everyone arguing about who should do the work, but with probably 60 guys left it was inevitable that we’d have a field sprint. Ok, no problem, I can sprint. So as we charged down the final mile or so of dead straight road to the finish I started looking for “the guy to” follow. Sure enough at about a kilometer to go here comes this HUGE dude rolling hard to the front (I was about 20 riders back). I jump on his wheel just happy as can be. He’ll take me right up there and it’ll be perfect.” Well no one told him so he charges straight through the front and lays down a nice solid lead out from probably 600m, only problem is he dropped me off with probably 300m left! Arrrgh, what are you gonna do – can’t really sit up and start looking for wheels at that point so I punched it as hard as I could. It went great for about 150m, then everyone and their mom started coming by saying “thanks” for the great lead out! Blast – a great race blown by two tactical errors. I was like 38th or something. Whatever, that was some fun racing

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