(Left to right) John Delong (Gary Fischer – Subaru) 4th, Jonathan Jacob (Nuvo) 2nd, Andy Crater (Aerocat) 1st, Adam Bergman (Texas Roadhouse) 3rd, Brian Toone (Tria Cycling p/b Donohooauto.com) 5th. I photoshopped John into the picture because an abrupt scheduling change of when the ceremony was going to be led to him missing the podium.
The race went really well, and I ended up in 5th place and on the podium thanks to the awesome support that my wife documented in her guest blog yesterday that she typed up as we were driving home to Birmingham. My beautiful wife, who is getting to be a pro at the feedzone, handed me not one, not two, but 10 bottles during the race with only one dropped (b/c of me not her). So that means during the race I needed 11 bottles of water/gatorade. That was because the air temp was 101 degrees by the end of our race with a heat index of 113!!!
Quick summary: I missed the winning move when it went at the end of the 1st lap. With 14 laps to race I just didn’t think there was any way it was going to stick even with the firepower it had in it. But I was wrong. The break of 4 whittled itself down to a break of 3 that ended up winning by nearly 4 minutes. I attacked to bridge 3 times and it was the 3rd time that led to a successful solo break from the field. I bridged up to John Delong who was 4th on the road at that time, and the two of us worked together for nearly 30 miles gaining a maximum advantage of just over 1 minute and trimming the lead groups advantage to just 2 and a half minutes before the two of us started to die/wilt/fade/wish we were dead in the 113 degree heat index. So the lead group’s advantage swung the other direction to 4 minutes by the end and our advantage on the chasing field was only 11 seconds at the finish. It was definitely a hard fought 5th place for me!
How the race played out is really evident in my heartrate data so I’ve included the course map and heartrate data below.
- Crazy fast from the gun – not feeling good at all here.
- Many attacks on the second lap, the winning break got away here.
- I attacked up the start/finish hill at the end of the second lap to try to bridge to the leaders. Didn’t make it.
- Conserving energy, very hot, tired, discouraged.
- Attacking on the Cochran Tunnel Hill to bridge to two riders who had rolled off the front about a mile or two earlier. Very encouraged by how good I felt attacking on the hill. Caught the riders near the top of the climb and slowed to try to form breakaway. Group of about six riders formed and we stayed away from chasing field before getting caught on the feedzone climb.
- Attacking on the Cochran Tunnel Hill again on the next lap. Got away solo and nearly a lap later bridged to John Delong who had rolled off a few miles earlier. We worked together with John pulling on most of the downhills, flats, and rolling sections and me pulling on each of the four climbs/hills. Together we were able to just barely stay away from what was left of the field with John taking a well-deserved 4th and me rolling in a few seconds later for 5th.
The Cochran Tunnel Hill was definitely my favorite part of the race. We drove through the Tunnel on I-64 on our way to the hotel on Tuesday night wondering if that was where the road race course crossed the interstate. Turns out that it not only was the spot, it was also the key spot of the race for me. The hill has a couple switchback like turns before straightening out. There is so many trees and vegetation that you don’t realize you are crossing over the interstate which goes through a tunnel through the hill. The speeds that I have highlighted on my heartrate data are the minimum speeds for a given climb of the hill. The first one (16.5mph) is the fastest climb that we did when I was with the field. The second one (18.5mph) is the attack I did to try to bridge to two riders who were chasing where I caught them before the top and slowed down to try to let them catch on to form a larger chase group. The third one (21mph) is the attack I did solo to get away from the field one lap later. I think I must have had a 20 second gap by the top of the 0.3 mile climb in order not to have gotten caught on the subsequent downhill. Then I was able to extend that lead on the feedzone climb which is only a mile from the top of the Cochran Hill. The last one (12mph) is the minimum speed that John and I did during our chase. I was completely exhausted in the heat and amazed that we were still in front of the field.
Immediately after my race finished, my teammate Terry Duran started his 50-54 race, which he won!!! So one national championship and two national championship podiums in one day for Tria Cycling!!!