After yesterday's 3.5hr ride through the rain with some good climbing and echelonning I was feeling really good, I was riding the echelon smoothly and felt punchy on the climbs. I was hoping that would transfer over to today's 60k race with 5 climbs up Saylor's and it did... sorta.
First lap I sat in, did no work whatsoever and took it pretty easy on the climb, I think I was second or third guy up but there were no KOM points for this one. I pushed over the crest and took the lead to try and thin out the pack a bit and drop some stragglers.
Second lap I started to launch some attacks to get a feel for the pack and see who was down for what, got away for a bit solo but shut that down because it was still very early and no one was with me. I was surprised at how slow the pack was taking the turns so I attacked a couple times before the bends to try and get rid of those that can potentially cause crashes. Once on Effingham the pace picked up a bit and some people pushed super hard on the climb, I decided to hold back since they looked like they were hurting and I did not want that feeling when we still have to go up 3 more times. No KOM points.
I was hoping to see Trevor Montague in the pack to try and organise something because I've been following his blog and he was to be here today, a fellow mtber who can really put the power down and probably had the same instinct as me which is to RACE from start to finish. On the third lap I seen the Brant Cycle jersey and we decided that we were going to try for a break. We launched a few times but nothing ever stuck, it's hard for 2 guys to get away from 50, but still very doable. I took off just before the downhill on Killman and put the hammer down heading in to the turn, I leaned but felt I can go faster so I started pedalling and my pedal caught the ground, I damn nead shit myself! Stayed up though, beauty. The reason I took off before the downhill was that we were passing M3's and I didn't want to be going down a twisty descent while trying to avoid smoking a M3. I looked back once I was on Effingham to see a crash, apparently it was just one guy, but it made me not regret my decision to go instead of completely saving my legs for some KOM points. Pushed a good pace up the climb but still pretty conservative, 3rd up gives me 1 point.
Trevor went off solo for a bit on the fourth lap (or third? it's hard to keep track), I was contemplating jumping to get up there but I knew a few guys would grab my wheel and I would eventually be dragging the whole pack. A few of us decided that we were going to push the pace after the fourth climb and we were down to commit to a break and work hard to hold it until the end. Second last time up I was third again, not enough for KOM, it didn't matter because I was getting ready for a bigger move worth more bills. I latched on the one of the guys who planned to go in the break with us and we got a little gap, I pulled through, Trev pulled through, some other guy pulled through then completely layed off the gas. We were getting caught so I pulled through, and the pace started to pick up again, we had somewhat of an echelon going then guy pulls through and dropped the pace yet again. It's easy to say "let's go for a break" but if you're going to commit then pédale tabarnak! So after a few surges then some more guys coming through and not wanting to push hard the pack was together again.c
No one was working so I guess that means it's going to be a sprint finish, I was feeling good and had been constantly drinking and took a gel so no cramps would occur for such and effort. We got the base and I made my way to the front, I took off on the left and heard "he's gone", I thought I was. Looked back and a group of 5 were coming on strong, they passed me and I couldn't hold on, came in 6th, one spot away from some cash and an upgrade point.
Realistically, I shouldn't have expected much today since it was my last day of a 3-week build, but I was feeling good and thought I could go for the W.
I really want to get out of S4 but I made a goal to win a race before I cat up, we'll see how she goes at KW.
It was a perfect day for a ride, my form is starting to come around, had some good talks with Chown about smart training lately and listening to someone who know's his shit can only do good. And it is.
Big ups to the Cadet boys from the St.CCC for their 1-2-3 performance, De Cal for his podium in the S3/Junior race, Csikos for a solid race, and of course Chown for finishing with the S1/2 pack with guys like Roth and Riggs in there. He was up since 5:30 and probably got a solid 5h of sleep last night, intense.
Big thanks to Bryan Sheldon for setting up the tent which helped me avoid heat stroke while I stayed to watch the rest of the day's races and to all those from the St.CCC and Alexander's Farm for putting together such a sick event.