A Michigan State rider rolled off the front at mile 2 of 83. Needless to say, we let him go. 1 lap latter, no breaks have gone up the road to chase, and the Michigan rider is still out of sight by at least 2 minutes. So we bring UW up to the front with 7 strong riders in the field--Myself, Rich and Dave Hatch, Kelley, Sparky, Fred, and Fresh--and push the pace a bit. After a few pulls, Fred comes up to the front and strings out the pack. Hanley from Marian attacks, I snag his wheel.
2 minutes later....no one is behind us. I power it out a bit and see what Hanley decides to do. Nothing, just sitting on. I try to shake him with some quick attacks. No luck, he's still there and not working. 5 minutes later, the gap has extended to over 1 minute, and Hanley and I work together. Only 3 hours and and 70 miles to go!
Next lap we catch the Michigan rider, Scott. He's super-stong and pulls Hanley and I into the wind at over 22 mph for minutes on end. The laps pass by quickly and the gap increases between the field and our 3-man break.
1 lap to go. Hanley no longer wants to work at all. I decide enough is enough--I let a big gap open after Hanley refuses to pull. Scott keeps motoring away. I let him go. Hanley begins to panic and I assure him that I won't bridge the gap. He finally gives in and pulls. 2 minutes later, I put the hammer down, bridge the gap, and there was only Scott and I left. It's all or nothing now, and on the last 14 mile lap we really keep the speed up.
Coming into the finish there are 5 1Km circuits to do before the finish line. Scott and I are way ahead of the field, so we take turns doing easy pulls. We're both wasted after having been in the break for the entire race. 1 lap to go, I'm on the front and wait for Scott's move. I know I can take him in the sprint. Timing is key, however, since the last corner is right at the line.
But, I screwed it. Scott makes the move around the last corner, I get on his wheel, then wait a split second too long before coming around him. Damnit--misjudged it by a cm or two. I could blame it on the finish line not being clearly marked, but it was my fault--I should have lead out the sprint with such a short finishing straight-away. Second place is HUGE for the team, but at the same time, we should have taken the win. Either way UW Madison is now for sure going to COLLEGIATE ROAD NATIONALS in Lawrence, Kansas--gey ready for some action now!!!
A hilly 2.75 mile circuit race with 2 steep 500 meter climbs per lap. That spells PAIN and BREAKAWAYS to all the racers in the field--but UW wasn't just going to let the race run it's path...
Fresh got in THE wining break after 2 laps with Junaluski, Brandon, and another Marian rider. Sweet! I sit up in the field and watch them get a huge gap going. 2 laps later, Fresh gets drilled by Juanaluski on a hill after having just pulled, and he comes back to the pack. Immeadiately I try to bridge up to the break. I get 1/2 of the way there, but the break is moving quick and I can't quite close the gap. Back to the field.
Fresh, Fred, and I organize an series of attacks, Fresh--Fred--Ryan. After two rotations of that, the field has chased down every move and is tired. With thee laps to go, Fred attacks and the field sits up. Fresh and I sit on the front. No one goes. Fred is gone, and we just tied up 4th place!
The sprint was uphill--all uphill, like a 14% uphill grade. I knew that I needed to be near the front. Done. I kept a little in the tank for the final kick at the end of the hill. It paid off, I got 2nd, Fresh 3rd in the sprint, scoring UW a 4th, 6th, and 7th place finish on the day.
MWCCC confrence races are done! Only regionals are left...and then the big finale. Can't wait to get it on....