Anytime you live close enough to a race to ride to the race instead of driving, you know that no matter what happens it’s going to be a good day. I woke up to cloudy skies, but no rain. Kristine left with the kids to head off to an Easter Egg hunt in Alabaster with the Moon’s. So I finished getting ready and by the time I left at 9AM, it had just started to rain. By the time I had left my neighborhood, the rain had increased in intensity and it was a steady rain shower pretty much the entire way to Barbers. I made it to the race, found out that I had raised enough money for Livestrong to not only race for free but also to receive one of the gift cards to Cahaba Cycles. Thank you everyone for donating!
22 riders lined up at the start of the 7 lap race with a light drizzle keeping us cold and ready to go. I was hoping for a relaxing start, but there were attacks from the gun with Travis Sherman (Moontoast/Tristar) and another rider getting away early. My teammate, Jacob Tubbs moved to the front to up the pace to make sure they didn’t get too far away. Will Hibberts from Alabama Masters ramped it up and we had a few guys rotating through in the chase. Then towards the end of the first lap on the steepest hill of the course, I saw that Travis had dropped his break-mate. I looked behind me and saw Travis’s teammate Mike Olheiser on my wheel and thought “drill it”! Sure enough – my acceleration separated me and Mike from the field and I quickly closed the gap to Travis. We had a small break at that point with a couple riders bridging across to us. We started rotating through with everybody taking pretty even pulls. Even so, the field was too fresh and about three laps later with three laps to go in the race, the field was about to catch us. I felt pretty sure that Mike wasn’t going to let it come back together without trying to get away so I prepared myself for him to jump — which he did through the start/finish line with 3 laps to go. I saw it coming, but when he attacked up the righthand side – I attacked down the lefthand side. I wasn’t in his draft though and he had a 10meter gap on me. So it was me vs. world time trial champion – not going to happen! He slowly pulled away and then, Eric May from Atlanta bridged up to me and we tried in vain to work together, but Mike continued to extend his lead.
So we backed our pace down from AWOL to just really fast and the rest of the chase group with 2 Nashville Cyclists (Tim Hall and Patrick), Joe from Ante Velos and also Mike’s temmate Travis along for the free ride. We rotated through and quickly extended our lead on the remnants of the field. Mike continued to pull away from us so it then became a race for 2nd. Initially, both riders from Nashville Cyclist were pulling through — but then they wisely put one rider back to match Travis who was saving up for the finish. With one to go, I maneuvered behind Travis anticipating him to attack the group before the finish. Attack he did, and I went right with him. But we didn’t have good separation (maybe just a few bike lengths) and so I didn’t pull through when he let off the gas. In retrospect, if I had attacked at that moment maybe I could held off everyone or if I had pulled through and worked with Travis, maybe we could have stayed away and sprinted it out for 2nd. Nevertheless, my instinct was to not commit to that move — maybe I was hoping somebody else would counter attack and I would still be fresh enough to go with that — and then I could counter attack that counter attack to get away solo! Well, if that’s what I was thinking it all went through my head subconsciously as I simply didn’t pull through.
So we all came back together right at the base of the hill before the finish. Travis ended up on the front with me in second position. I was thinking somebody was going to attack from behind us, and I was listening for it to accelerate so I could hop on it and then come around before the finish. It never happened though so Travis was forced to lead out the sprint. He led it out from pretty much the bottom corner as we made it onto the flat finishing area. He attacked hard so the pace was high with me on his wheel. I was waiting, waiting and then with about 200 meters I attacked hard to come around him hoping I could hold it to the line — but one guy (Eric May) was able to come around me right before the finish. With Mike Olheiser taking the win in front of us, that put Eric in second, and me in 3rd.
When the race was over, I borrowed a rain jacket from Ed Whitehorn (Velocity Pro Cycles) — thank you!!! — as I was freezing and started on my 20 mile ride back home. I cruised real easy and thought constantly about the race, replaying it over and over again. My mistake was not maneuvering behind Mike before he attacked. As soon as I realized that we were going to get caught – I should have immediately worked my way behind Mike in anticipation of him attacking. Once that didn’t happen though and we were racing for 2nd, I then should have waited just a second or two longer before coming around Travis. Oh well — live and learn — great racing by all! Back in the field, Jacob covered moves and then took the field sprint pretty convincingly from the look of the photos posted online.
We had a good strong field with Team Type I, Moontoast/Tristar, and us all having good sized teams. We lined up with seven guys – Terry, Sammy, Jacob, Philip, Darryl, Paul, and me. It was attack, attack, attack from the gun. We had guys in every move. I made it into a break with two TriStar riders, Dan Holt from Team Type I, and one other rider. We worked hard and rotated well together, but it was too early in the race and the pack brought us back after a lap and a half. Then there were more attacks but nothing got away on that next lap. Then I attacked again near the beginning of the 3rd lap and got away with another good looking break. This one only lasted for a lap. I felt like we were rotating well, but the team representation must not have been right because we got drilled back again by the pack. As soon as we got caught, Tiago Depaula (Depaula Racing) launched off the front. My teammate, Terry Duran, saw it coming and latched onto it immediately. A few more riders bridged up and eventually it became a break of 5. Terry got out-maneuvered in the end but still finished a respectable 4th having already won a Masters 40+ race earlier in the day! For our field sprint, Jacob and Sammy both finished high up in it to finish 11th and 14th for the race.
No heartrate data from my masters race as the rain must have been interfering with the signal. But here is the HR data for the P/1/2/3 race along with the map of my ride from my house to the race.
- 1st break
- 2nd break
- The finish