Washington Circuit Race Report 5/6
Washington Circuit Race Report
After what should have been a top two finish in my first race and finishing eighth in my second race, I arrived in Washington feeling strong. While looking at the course map earlier in the week I was pleased to see that the course was set up perfect for a breakaway. With 500 feet of climbing (so the organizer stated) and many sharp corners over the course of a five mile circuit, I thought I would definitely be able to again make a breakaway stick. My goal from the beginning was to find a few riders who would cooperate and work together to establish and maintain a break.
Two spots on the course seemed to favor s few riders taking a flyer off the front. The first was just a half mile into the circuit. There were two long gradual climbs, separated by a block long flat, that looked good to me. The second, pointed out by a Cat 2 teammate, was the last climb of the circuit, 1,500 meters from the finish line. From the summit of this climb the road twisted and turned down the river bluff to the final straightaway. Which, by the way, was into a cross headwind.
Early on I let my lone teammate and another rider I am friends with know that I was planning on attacking on the final climb in the third lap. I spent the first two laps watching the other riders, trying to determine who I would want to take with me in the break. A few riders tried to go off the front in the first two laps, as I went with them, but it was apparent that nobody was really willing to do the work necessary for the break to be successful. Each time we were forced to sit up and let the field catch us.
At the beginning of the third lap I exploded around the corner leading up to the first climb. As I was on the front I was able to turn and see how strung out the field had become. I already had a few bike lengths on the riders behind me and noticed they were talking when they came out of the corner. They weren’t paying attention to me at all! My attack started here. Up the first hill I absolutely buried myself. Turning onto the one block flat I was able to see my gap was growing and nobody was working to bridge up. I was all alone. Up the next hill I continued the onslaught, not knowing if I was gaining or losing ground. As I turned the corner at the top I was able to see my gap was huge! I later found out from another rider that nobody wanted to work, everybody thought I had gone too early, and only a few riders that knew me believed that I might be able to sustain the break for the remainder of the race.
The rest, as they say, is history. I held off the pack for the remaining 14 miles and crossed the finish line alone for my first victory of 2007.
I now look forward to Memorial Day weekend when I will have three races in three days. Hopefully my good luck will continue. One of my main goals this year is to upgrade to a Cat 3, and the points won in Washington are my first points toward the upgrade