Another weekends racing under my race belt.
Maybe it was the sun ... or the fact I'd had an easy week last week, but this weekend I felt great heading into the Sunday morning Spring Series race in Aldergrove. The sun was out and 20 degrees was the predicted high, same again today here in Vancouver so all the shorts and tshrits are back out.
Met up with my Atomic Racing buddies from last weekend before the race and we headed off together for the 65km of racing along the US border. Almost immediately Mike who had worked really hard last weekend with me was up at the front looking keen so I darted up the outside into the wind to the front. 2km into the first full lap he had already pushed the pace off the front and I managed to get a good 50m gap along with another rider (very strong and kitted out in full CSC kit). We played around a bit off the front for 5km or so waiting for others to bridge, pretty soon Mike was up with me along with a Glotman Simpson rider. The 4 of us pushed it for a few laps but by around 20km the peleton had organised and reeled us in.
I wasn't too worried though as I still felt great and knew I had made some people hurt having to catch us up :)
The next 20km went by without trouble but I was sitting at/or near the front just preserving my energy ... my mind was working overtime to try and think up a good break away plan!
The course was pretty simple, a square; big downhill into the wind, right turn and a big ring power hill followed by a fast downhill, right turn with a 2km flat tailwind stretch, right turn and a hilly (very hilly) section back to the line.
My plan was with 2 laps to go (14km) I'd work my way to the front, power it down the big headwind hill, quick right turn then keep up the pace before sprinting up the big ring power hill hopefully making my break for freedom. With 2.5 laps to go I found Mike and we discussed tactics, he would pull me to the front and slingshot me up and over the power hill then try and hold up the peleton as much as he could...
Here we go...
Crossed the line, 2 laps left. Mike picks me up and starts to drag me to the front. 2nd and 3rd places while working down the hill into the wind, front of the pack gets strung out. Fast right turn and the top 5 get strung out at the front ... big hill approaching.
Mike pulls out to the side (everyone thinks we were just taking our turn) but he puts on the gas and storms off the front, me 2 inches behind. He worked so hard pulling me half way up the hill (15m gap on 3rd place) before firing me up to the top and over the crest. I'm busy cranking out full speed and don't notice the gap opening up, next thing I know I'm turning right onto the fast tailwind stretch and the pack aren't in sight :)
My heroics however were doomed, I held the lead for the rest of the lap, catching a group of B and A riders in the process, 3/4 of the way through the final lap however I feel a group of around 12 catching me and with 1.5km to go it's me with the rest of them for the finish.
The sensible thing to have done would be to rest at the back of the group for the final 2 minutes to rest up for the final hill ... but that would have been easy so I spent the last 1km or so breaking the group of 13 down to 6 .... which ... killed me :)
Final hill : I sped off up through the initial part of the accent (200m to go) in the lead but quickly all those sensible cyclists who had saved something for the end passed me and I crossed the line in 6th. I was in no way disappointed though as I had been courageous and had fun in the process!
With 1 week until my final exams and 4 weeks until Wildflower it's all go in Vancouver, lots of training, even more studying and hopefully when the dust settles in mid May it will have been worth it.
ps. New bike arrives this week...pictures to follow!