Given the option of a 75 mile or a 100 mile road race, which would you choose? If the actual distance was closer to 110 miles and there were gale force winds, would you change your mind? Sitting in 6th place on GC after yesterday, I was ready to rumble.
Well today's 80 mile flat road race turned into a 110 mile windy-as-all-hell deathmarch. It started pretty slow, but I went in an early break since the first of four laps was an omnium preem sprint and I wanted points. Too bad a course marshall directed me the wrong way and I ended up back in the pack after 10 minutes. Shucks. The early break took the preem points, and was promptly caught after an all-out 2nd lap.
I ended up in a chase group and had to go hard for a while to catch back on to the leaders. Luckily the work paid off, and we regrouped with 25 riders with two laps to go. After some attacking, Kirk Carlson, Curtis Gunn, Matt Shirver, one other Empire guy, and I got away on the third lap. The remainder of the field drilled it to catch us, effectively shelling the group down to 14 riders including the break. Going into the final lap of hell, I had 3 bottles of water so far and no more in sight. Dehydration settled in and I started my nervous habit of talking a lot when I'm dizzy and suffering.
A break of 5 guys not above 5th on GC rolled off with 1 to go, and I watched it fly by....dumb move. The omnium points for the weekend were very top heavy, so even though the riders were not high on GC, they effectively took all the points I needed to move up on GC. So, with no more food or water, we slaved away for the last 30 mph windy, 28 mile lap. Somehow I struggled through the end, watched Gunn's wheel in the sprint, and won the chase group sprint for 6th. It was the single lowest power sprint I've ever done(750 watts for 15 seconds), and it still won the sprint. Wow. That's the definition of a deathmarch.
Overall, I actually moved down on GC to 7th overall. But given the hard courses and strong field, I'm happy with the weekend.
Next on tap is some heavy training for the Belize Holy Cross Country Classic, a 145 mile UCI 1.12 race across the entire country of Belize and back. Fun stuff to come,