I haven’t done this race for a little while, look the last time I did it was when I was a cat 4 in my first year of racing. The packing job to get here was an adventure all of its own. To cram 4 bike racers and all the required gear for a stage race into Karey’s Jetta with only a 3 bike bike rack on back, pharmacy it required engineering genius and patience. We barely got everything in the car…well actually, clinic we couldnt which is why two wheelsets had to be zip-tied down to the bike rack. The drive wasnt so bad, but I was in the front seat. The poor folks in the backseat of the car were crammed in with bags surrounding them. They said they were all right, but I suspect that there was more discomfort that demonstrated.
I was excited to see what things would be like in the p/1/2 field for this race after a couple of upgrades, more miles in the saddle and more experience. The first day didn’t go that hot. Despite making some good efforts in the crit, I just couldn’t time things right. I never seemed to be in place for any of the primes or the overall. The course was interesting enough, but I just seemed to be making the wrong decisions through out the race. I crossed the line a little frustrated that I couldnt seem to pull it together and grab some omnium points, but I tried not to think about it too much and to just move on to the next stage; the TT.
After lunch, I couldnt get super pumped for the TT. I knew the course pretty well since Ive already TTd on it once this year, and have raced it a few times in the past as well. No full TT rig for this race, just the bars, wheels and helmet(not enough room in the car for a 5th bike). After finally getting my chamied up, I was able to get into the race a little more, and was ready to feel the pain of a TT. I had hoped that some how this TT would magically surpass some of my most recent TT results, but it blended in with them a little too well to make me happy with the result. I went home to some food and exciting games of ping pong. I was looking forward to the RR the next day, and figured that it would be more of my kind of race than the ones on saturday.
We packed the car and headed to the road course with only a general direction, and the name of the snow park parking lot we were supposed to park in. By far, this was the most unaware ive been of the location on any race start in my career of racing. I knew the general area, and that we had to turn left at some point to get to the parking lot. I was happy to see that the course was a section of course that cascade was run on, and I would say it was a great improvement to the high desert omniums previous road race course. It started with a down hill, and there were attacks from 200 meters into the race, looked like it would be a fun day. There were a lot of moves and I tried to stay in as many as I could hope into, and initiated some attacks, but nothing seemed to stick too early on. Heading over the hill in the middle of the course, some guys went OTF, but since there were a lot of long flat straight stretches of road coming up, I didn’t give it much chance of staying away. Sure enough, the whole front half of the pack was riding at tempo speeds and the break was slowly but steadily getting closer. The break was back with the group just after the feed zone, and the pack seemed to be a little more at ease. When we got to a small climb, the attacks started up again, and some hard efforts threatened to break apart the pack or get some riders off the front again, but nothing was hard enough to split the field, and the hill didn’t prove long enough to cause any real damage to the outcome of the race. We descended down the back side and more guys attacked, but everyone chased. When we got to the bottom, some more guys attacked, but this group started to roll away. A little later, I went up the road with 4 other guys. We put in steady smooth pulls and caught the leaders at the base of the climb with nearly a minute on the field. We were only a few miles from the finish, the guys I was with seemed pretty hosed from the effort to get to where we were. I was the only one who seemed willing or able to do any more work, but I didn’t want to be tricked by any cat and mouse tactics. I upped the tempo a little bit to see if anyone would follow me, but they just let the gap open up. I figured there was a little more than 2k to the finish and I would go for it from there, I upped the tempo a little more and looked back to see the gap opening up even wider. It wasn’t long until I saw the 1k to go sign, and checked the gap behind me, it was only getting larger. I was confident I could hold the pace I was setting, and would fend off any chase efforts behind me. I wasn’t aware of any pain that climbing fast and hard usually comes with, I only felt a surge of excitement at the thought of maintaining my gap and taking the win. At the 200 meter mark I looked back, and saw nothing but wide open road and a lone chaser leading the charge behind me. I focused on the finish line in front of me, and knew it would only be seconds before I crossed it first, with a large gap on 2nd place. I rolled over the white line marking the finish, savoring the feeling of accomplishment as I won.