What a great day for Tria Cycling! My teammate Pat Allison took the win from a 2-man break hopefully moving up into the top 10 on the GC based on the time differential and time bonuses on offer for the stage. Another teammate, Sammy Flores, took the field sprint for 3rd place in the race. I was just two spots behind him for 5th place in the crit wrapping up a 5th place overall in the GC. I also won a prime for a Park Tool Bike Stand with about 8 laps to go.
The race started out interestingly as the rider to my left slipped off his pedal trying to clip in and plowed into my foot with his foot and then into my rear wheel with his front wheel. This is why it is so important to make sure your rear skewer is pointed correctly up the seat stay so that another riders wheel and/or spoke doesn’t get caught in the skewer and pull you down. Fortunately, I don’t believe there was any damage to my wheel, but I went from the third row near the front to near the back of the pack by the first turn. The course was really wide, however, and I had moved back up to the front by near the end of the second lap.
By the start of the fourth lap, I was in a good position to attack to try to bridge across to a small break that had gone up the road on the second or third lap. I attacked hard through the start/finish going into the first turn. I nearly lost it over the bricks but recovered to find myself with three chase group companions – Tim Reagan (Herring Gas), Michael McBrien (Subaru), John Hart (Friends of the Great Smokies). We were joined half a lap later by another rider who had bridged across. We worked well together and stayed away for almost 4 laps averaging 27.5mph along the way. Kristine got this video of a couple of the laps of that early break:
Behind us, there was a hard chase by the GC contenders who didn’t want to see me get up the road to get time back that I had lost in the time trial the day before. Once we were caught, my teammate Pat Allison launched a strong attack that was perfectly timed, but there was still too many people fresh and the field brought it back each time. The next few laps saw a few attacks being brought back. Then Pat launched a nice solo move through the start/finish. Another rider from Velobrew was either already up the road or saw the move and bridged across to Pat. It was a bit confusing because some riders were already being lapped and weren’t being pulled from the course. So it was hard to tell who was up the road from the field and who was being lapped. In any case, Pat eventually merged with the Velobrew rider and the two of them worked to establish a 47 second lead. With lap times of just over 1’30”, they were halfway around the course to lapping the field before our pace picked up in the field.
John Hart (FGS) attacked several times to try to get away and chase, but each move was brought back by GC contenders intent on conserving their lead. The field pace was slow because of the short attacks and catches. But then there were a few attacks from GC contenders that saw our pace ramp way up as I and others chased them down. Shortly after these attacks, the promoters rang the bell for the park bike stand as a field prime. Nobody attacked throughout the course so coming down the straightaway before the last turn, I attacked hard (1088watts) up the inside. I thought for sure somebody in the field would have grabbed my wheel to go for the prime so as I sprinted full speed to the finish line I was crossing the gap to my teammate up the road. By the time I made it to the finish line, I already had nearly a 10 second gap with the field just making the turn around the final corner.
At this point, I debated for a second that maybe I should try to finish the bridge to my teammate. I quickly realized, though, that the field would chase hard until I was caught possibly leading it all to come back together before the end. I didn’t want to spoil a nearly certain win given our strongest sprinter in a two-man break so I sat up to let the field catch me as quickly as possible. This worked perfectly because our pace dropped in the field and the break’s gap grew again. Only a couple laps later, the officials announced 5 laps to go, and our pace jumped up again. Jake Brewer (Herring Gas) got away with one other rider ahead of the field. It wasn’t until coming out of the final corner going into the final sprint that we caught them. I made sure to stay as close to the front as possible, which turned out to be really good because there were two crashes on the final lap. Kristine got this awesome video of the finish of the race with Pat taking a clear win, my teammate Sammy winning the field sprint, and me taking 5th.
Here is the lap data from Strava -
NAME DIST SPEED POWER TIME COMMENT Lap 1 0.7 mi 24.4 mph 224 watts 0:01:45 Lap 2 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 199 watts 0:01:42 Lap 3 0.7 mi 25.8 mph 244 watts 0:01:39 Lap 4 0.7 mi 28.4 mph 371 watts 0:01:30 EARLY BREAK Lap 5 0.7 mi 27.8 mph 305 watts 0:01:32 Lap 6 0.7 mi 26.9 mph 277 watts 0:01:35 Lap 7 0.7 mi 26.1 mph 259 watts 0:01:38 Lap 8 0.7 mi 24.8 mph 195 watts 0:01:43 Lap 9 0.7 mi 28.4 mph 302 watts 0:01:30 Lap 10 0.7 mi 27.2 mph 341 watts 0:01:34 Lap 11 0.7 mi 27.2 mph 283 watts 0:01:34 Lap 12 0.7 mi 23.5 mph 171 watts 0:01:49 Lap 13 0.7 mi 24.1 mph 178 watts 0:01:46 Lap 14 0.7 mi 25.8 mph 261 watts 0:01:39 Lap 15 0.7 mi 24.8 mph 212 watts 0:01:43 Lap 16 0.7 mi 22.4 mph 157 watts 0:01:54 Lap 17 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 217 watts 0:01:42 Lap 18 0.7 mi 24.6 mph 216 watts 0:01:44 Lap 19 0.7 mi 23.0 mph 135 watts 0:01:51 Lap 20 0.7 mi 25.6 mph 243 watts 0:01:40 Lap 21 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 211 watts 0:01:42 Lap 22 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 230 watts 0:01:42 Lap 23 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 277 watts 0:01:36 Lap 24 0.7 mi 29.4 mph 387 watts 0:01:27 BIKESTAND PRIME Lap 25 0.7 mi 26.1 mph 356 watts 0:01:38 Lap 26 0.7 mi 21.9 mph 200 watts 0:01:57 Lap 27 0.7 mi 25.3 mph 208 watts 0:01:41 Lap 28 0.7 mi 23.2 mph 160 watts 0:01:50 Lap 29 0.7 mi 23.9 mph 183 watts 0:01:47 Lap 30 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 249 watts 0:01:36 Lap 31 0.7 mi 27.5 mph 285 watts 0:01:33 Lap 32 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 247 watts 0:01:36 Lap 33 0.7 mi 29.7 mph 385 watts 0:01:26