Wow – I just had my first omnium win thanks to amazing teamwork by Tria Cycling this weekend at the Cuba Meridian Challenge Omnium.
Saturday criterium – 3rd place, I initiated 4-man break that lapped field, went too early in the finishing sprint to finish 3rd.
Sunday road race – 1st place, I won by a couple minutes after an 11 mile solo break.
Omnium – I ended up tied with Woody Boudreaux with 41 pts. The tiebreaker was the placing in the road race … so, I won!
This is going to be a super busy week for me with the Fall semester starting back up and flying to New York at the end of the week for the Chris Thater memorial race – so I’m trying to hammer out this race report as fast possible … excuse the typos, incomplete thoughts, etc…
- Some attacks went early, but they came back due to pretty fast initial pace.
- Saw my opportunity to attack on the 6th lap and attacked going into turns 2, 3 and then carried my momentum up the hill before turn 4.
- I wasn’t expecting to get away solo, but I had a good gap right away so I decided to push it.
- I lasted out front by myself for about a lap and a half before Travis Sherman (Marx/Bensdorf) and Ryan (Woody) Boudreaux (Herring Gas) bridged up to me. Then Pat Allison (Ion Nutrition) bridged to the 3 of us.
- We rotated well and quickly got out of sight of the field.
- Eventually, we started closing in on lapping the field.
- I wanted to attack early to see if any of the riders in our break were struggling and might get dropped and not finish making the bridge.
- Unfortunately, all I ended up doing was overshooting turn 3 and swinging wide into the small parking lot area on the outside before coming back into the course.
- Once we caught the group, I went straight through the group and tried to attack again, but couldn’t get away.
- My teammate, Paul Tower, made it into a break off the front of the field and ended up winning that sprint for 5th place in the race
- I moved into position behind Pat on the last lap with my teammate Stuart Lamp setting a high pace to keep people from shuffling around
- Got separated from Pat when he went right and I went left around a slower rider about halfway through the lap.
- Then in the finish, Pat was to my right and it looked like he was blocked in so I nailed it coming around left barely squeezing through the riders who were pulling off the front.
- Unfortunately for me, it was pretty big headwind sprint and I went from 300 meters out – so I couldn’t hold it. Got passed by three people including Woody and Pat – so that meant I got third in the race.
A couple moves went early in the race, but with the fast pace nothing was getting away. Well, that is until Wes launched a strong counter attack, taking Gavin (BBC) and two or three other riders with him – I’m still confused about how many people were in that original break. Wes pushed the pace hard, and their break pushed out its lead to nearly three minutes after the first of three laps.
I was very happy with Wes in the break, but about halfway through the second lap I was concerned that there might be too many people in the break which would increase the number of places ahead of Pat and Woody that I would need to finish in order to win the omnium. I was 9 points behind Woody and 5 points behind Pat, so if the break stayed away that would mean I would need to finish 4 or 5 spots ahead of them in the sprint … and I wasn’t sure I could do that given the fact that they had both beaten me in the sprint the day before. So I worked my way up to Stuart, and we had a discussion about what to do. We resolved that Paul could be the surprise winner if he got away solo and finished enough spots ahead. So Stuart asked Paul to attack and try to get away. This was advantageous to me because it meant that Herring Gas and possibly Pat would have to expend energy chasing Paul down – or Paul would get away and possibly sneak away with the omnium for our team!
Paul put in a hard acceleration on one of the first big rollers. He strung out the field until the elastic snapped with only Travis able to hold on. This wasn’t ideal because Travis who had gotten 4th yesterday was high in the overall. I knew that Herring would have to chase though b/c they couldn’t let Paul get away. Jake Brewer (Herring) put in a hard attack, and I was right there so I just went with him and was able to take the free ride up to Paul. The field was also right behind us, but Jake launched straight through the break and attacked again. I was still right there with him so I just followed his wheel.
We still didn’t get much separation, so it all came back together. A little earlier in the lap, James Hall had put in a good acceleration and gotten away solo and was pulling away from the pack. On the next hill right as we were catching James, I attacked again, this time taking Pat, Woody, and Travis. My thinking in initiating this break is that if we didn’t get a good gap, then that could be a good launch pad for Paul who could counter attack. We got a great gap, though, and I really pushed the pace hard at the beginning to extend our lead. With all the major teams represented, nobody was going to chase so our gap quickly grew and we settled into a good rhythm to make the bridge up to the leading break of 4. At the start of the last lap, we were given a couple time splits from spectators in the feedzone saying the gap was about 2 minutes. Within a couple miles we could see the break, and a couple miles later we had caught the lead group right at the bottom of the first big roller.
Pat put in the first attack – a very strong one on the first hill that whittled our group down to six riders with Travis suffering a bit in the heat with dehydration. I was planning on attacking on the last, largest hill but my teammate Wes Douglas ended up attacking before I could. This turned out to be perfect because it allowed me to slip to the back of our group and then catch everyone by surprise a minute or two later. Our pace had slowed down to 11mph, even with Wes rolling off the front so I decided that everybody must be struggling with the heat. It just felt like the perfect time to attack. I ramped it up and attacked very hard to make sure that I got a clean break so that Pat and Woody would have to chase hard to catch me. I hit a top speed of 26.5 mph going up the hill cresting the top (steepest part) at 22.5mph.
Even with a big initial gap, I wasn’t sure I could hold it to the finish with all the downhill rolling sections still left to come. First time split from the moto officila was: “looks like about a minute”. The next time split was: “still looks like a minute”. Then the one after that was: “I’d guess a minute and a half”. Then no more time splits. Turns out I ended up winning by about 3 minutes! Exhausted, I rode straight to the registration area where the organizers (Magnolia Cycling) always have lots of cold drinks waiting for us. Awesome!
Everyone from the team finished well with Wes finishing in the break after setting me up for my solo attack and win – and Paul cleaning up by winning the field sprint.
Meridian Criterium Heartrate Data
- My initial attack, which started out solo and morphed into 4-man break
- Attacking to try to finish bridging to the back of the field solo
- Positioning, resting, easier pace
- The finishing sprint
- Easy first lap with my teammate Wes up the road
- Paul’s initial acceleration and counter-attack from Jake Brewer
- My attack that established our 4-man chase group
- My attack to launch solo and win! (see zoomed portion below)
11 mile solo attack to win Cuba Road Race
- Maxed out at 26.5mph up this climb to launch my attack!
- Hurting really bad here, gap about a minute.
- The downhills hurt worse than the uphills here.
- Sat up at the very end when no one was in sight behind me.
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