I took 4th place today in the final race of the labor day omnium, my highest placing ever in an NRC event, and I fell just one lap short of taking a solo win. It was an amazing experience even though it was a bit disappointing to miss the podium by one spot. Still very happy though! Here is how the race played out:
The course was the same course as the long first lap of the time trial on Friday – technical 2.6 mile course closed to traffic but wide open for a fast tactical race. With 25 laps and nearly 70 miles of racing ahead of us, I figured that we would average 25mph. As soon as the race began, however, I realized that 25mph was definitely underestimating the speed of the group as we continued to average well over 27mph lap after lap. Once the race blew up into several small groups, the average speed dropped to a final average of 26.1mph … here are the lap splits annotated –
NAME DIST SPEED POWER TIME Comment Lap 1 2.7 mi 25.7 mph 220 watts 0:06:25 Lap 2 2.7 mi 27.6 mph 284 watts 0:05:57 Fast Lap 3 2.7 mi 27.7 mph 256 watts 0:05:55 Fast Lap 4 2.7 mi 27.5 mph 283 watts 0:06:00 Fast Lap 5 2.7 mi 27.5 mph 284 watts 0:05:58 Fast Lap 6 2.7 mi 27.9 mph 245 watts 0:05:53 Fast Lap 7 2.7 mi 26.8 mph 227 watts 0:06:07 Lap 8 2.7 mi 25.3 mph 257 watts 0:06:31 Points prime (1pt) Lap 9 2.7 mi 24.8 mph 244 watts 0:06:36 Lap 10 2.7 mi 26.8 mph 246 watts 0:06:06 Lap 11 2.7 mi 26.6 mph 256 watts 0:06:10 Lap 12 2.7 mi 22.9 mph 188 watts 0:07:09 Slow Lap 13 2.7 mi 27.3 mph 238 watts 0:05:59 Lap 14 2.7 mi 26.4 mph 207 watts 0:06:13 Lap 15 2.7 mi 27.3 mph 222 watts 0:06:01 Lap 16 2.7 mi 27.6 mph 271 watts 0:05:57 Points prime (1pt) Lap 17 2.7 mi 26.6 mph 290 watts 0:06:09 Lap 18 2.7 mi 26.5 mph 271 watts 0:06:13 Lap 19 2.7 mi 27.3 mph 272 watts 0:06:00 Lap 20 2.7 mi 25.1 mph 254 watts 0:06:32 Lap 21 2.7 mi 24.7 mph 267 watts 0:06:39 Points prime (3pts) Lap 22 2.7 mi 26.1 mph 306 watts 0:06:16 Solo Lap 23 2.7 mi 25.6 mph 283 watts 0:06:25 Solo Lap 24 2.7 mi 24.6 mph 263 watts 0:06:39 Solo Lap 25 2.7 mi 24.6 mph 244 watts 0:06:40 Caught finished 4th
The first few laps were really fast with splits in the field and large groups rolling off the front. I made it into one of these splits with about 15 riders, but there wasn’t enough cohesion in the group to stay off the front. At this point, it’s hard to remember exactly how the final break materialized. I was riding aggressively on the points prime laps to try to get omnium points and managed to snag 3rd place on two of them good for 1 point each.
On lap 16, I was already in a break of about 12 riders when I led out the sprint for the omnium points hoping to get a jump on the faster guys. I managed to hold on for third but the sprint itself had shelled a few riders. At this point we were down to 8 riders. About midway through the next lap, a group of three including Alexey Schmidt (Team Type I), Serghei Tvetcov (Aerocat), and Demis Aleman (Jamis) rolled off the front of our break. For the next three laps, the five of us that were left – me, Oscar Clark (Realcyclist), Shane Braley (Chemstar), a Mountain Khakis rider, and Team Cocos rider worked to chase back up to the three off the front. When we finally caught them, it was back to a break of 8, but one that lacked any cohesion at all as everyone was tired and everyone had strong riders in the field and chase behind us. I didn’t want to get caught so I kept trying to push the pace and would roll off the front either by myself or once with Alexey and once with Shane. The rest of the group would always get itself organized again and work its way back up to us.
With 5 laps to go, they rang the bell for a points prime. Without any cohesion in the group, I rolled off the front again this time getting a pretty good lead. Realizing that there were three omnium points on the line, I drilled it hard to try to stay away for the points. I looked back and was shocked at the gap I had opened up. So that helped me to keep pushing harder hoping to have enough of a lead so that when the group started to chase I would be able to hold on for the points. About 3/4 of the way through the lap, I realized that I was going to get the points and that I had a big enough lead that there was a realistic chance I could win the race! I settled into as hard a rhythm as I could maintain and stayed away for the next three laps. I couldn’t even sustain 300 watts by this point in the race even with the extra motivation of a chance at winning an NRC race. So by the start of the last lap (2.6 miles from the finish), a group of 3 that had split off from the rest of the break caught up to me.
At this point, I no longer had any thoughts of winning the race, and I was still concerned about the remnants of the break or even the 1st chase group from the field catching up to us by the end so I went to the front one more time to try to keep the pace up into the rolling section. There was an attack at the bottom of the climb, then a counter-attack by Serghei at the top that saw him get away solo. A couple seconds later, Demis attacked hard up the right-hand side with Oscar and I on the far left. He immediately got the gap and closed the distance to Serghei. Oscar and I were left behind to fight it out for 3rd. In the final sprint, I tried to go early attacking on the feedzone hill but Oscar was able to hold my wheel and come around to take third with me getting 4th. Ahead of us, Demis took the win just ahead of Serghei.
Gene and the Swagger crew put on a great VIP tent with food/drinks for the riders, and the podium ceremony was in front of thousands of people gathered for an annual concert. With the 5 omnium points that I got during the race, plus the 14 points for finishing third, that was enough to move me up to 11th overall for the weekend. At the beginning of the weekend I was hoping for a top 20 in the omnium, so I was able to almost get a top 10. Great way to wrap up the NRC racing calendar. I’m excited for two more races to end the season – Pensacola in two weeks and then the Six Gap criterium and century the week after that.
Here is my power data (no heartrate this weekend, left my heartrate monitor in my office on Friday) –