Today went well.
Today's stage was a 50-minute crit on a L-shaped course in downtown Nashville. The course had a bit of a climb, but nothing too steep, and a long downhill straightaway.
The race started off at a sprint, which is actually nice because with a field of 80+ riders you want things to get strung out right away. It keeps things safe and under control.
I started near the back which is about standard protocol for me, but after a couple of quick laps I was warmed up enough to easily move up to a more comfortable position. I found I could move in the field with ease, moving up four or five riders on the downhill back stretch, picking off a rider or two on the outside of the fast turns, sometimes taking a few positions on the climb... Anyway, I felt great. Much better than yesterday.
Twenty minutes into the race I was hovering in the 15-25th position just chilling along. Things would get dicey when the pace would slow, but there were enough attacks that for the most part things stayed stretched out and safe.
My goal for the race was just to finish with the field, not taking any chances and finishing with the same time as the leaders. However, I felt so good that with 3.25 laps to go I jumped off the front and made a go of it. The initial effort gave me a gap of a few bike lengths, but the field soon caught back up. I made two more efforts of it while on the front, leading the field for about 1.5 laps--twice through the start/finish, rewarded by getting my sponsor's name over the loudspeaker, which is cool--but I couldn't get a gap so I slipped back in the field to about eighth position coming into the final lap. The effort took some precious seconds out of the two-man break up the road, but they still finished with ~10 seconds on the field. Unfortunately, the dude who won was just one place behind me on the GC, so I've slipped back at least one more spot, unless any of the 10 riders in front of me had any trouble. I don't think the race leader gained any time on me, though, so I should be in the same position relative to him going into tomorrow as I was today. (Results will be posted later.)
Some drama on the last lap: on a turn in the final lap I was hit from the inside and sent sailing towards the outside curb leaving rubber and heal plastic on the road in my wake. No one clobbered me from behind, fortunately, so I was able to stay upright and finished at the tail end of a much reduced field. Safe.
Tomorrow is the make-it-or-break-it stage. If I feel as good tomorrow as I did today I'd say I've got a chance to do some damage on that final climb. Stay tuned...
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Today went well.