I went into Sunday with 18 total miles for the week and four straight days of no riding and beer drinking. As I rode from my house to Chateau de Cernich the legs actually felt good. Maybe I four days of sedentary activity actually translates to positive rest?? Probably not but psychologically, I felt good..even if the body didn't.
We rolled out from Capitol Hill out East Capitol to Tradezone with the solid group of Cernich, Brigham, Will, Pete, and Myself. The trip out is just under 20 miles from my door, which is "perfect" for a warm up for me. All last year I'd go into races with a 10 or 15 minute warm up and feel stiff and all out of it for the first half...except for the races I rode to (Crystal City, Silver Spring, RFK, Chantilly). Interesting that those were the races that I had the best results in.
Anyway, on to tradezone:
I felt bad for those who couldn't race due to the whole over-registering folks fiasco. Had I'd been able to do the A race, I would have given up my spot. Unfortunately, there was stuff to do back home that allowed three options, do the B race, do the A race (and risk sleeping on the couch for a least a month) or don't do the B race and go home. Option 2 not being an option, I stuck with 1.
Officials might want to consider asking for volunteers from the C race to give up their spot next time (considering they had already done a race).
The race was a parade of sorts. A group of 6 or 7 got off the front at one point, but weren't committed enough to stay out there. Little attacks here and there, but nobody in the B race has the power or go out there and hold tempo for 20 miles to hold off the main field by themselves (even though we fluctuated between 19 and 28 mph pretty much the whole time and consistency in pace by one person could in theory be enough). If a good group of 6 got off the front and pegged it at 26 mph for a couple of laps...each taking turns and were willing to sacrifice to stay away, they'd be gone. That doesn't happen in B races though...maybe not yet at least.
Will, Brig and I put together a sweet little leadout train for the second prime. Will took us through the last turn, Brig pulled me to the front of the field up the left side and then opened the door for me to launch to the line...it was executed perfectly and a blast to be a part of. I swear, a team that is in tune with each other will win every time. It's awesome.
So after the break was swallowed up and with 4-5 laps to go, all the "sprinters" started coming to the front. Unfortunately, none of the sprinters brought their teams with them, so we ended up parading around at 23-24 mph bunched up like a lollipop at the front. I was sitting 10th or 15th from the rear and was watching it all thinking about how I was going to get up there myself for the end. I figured that I wasn't in any shape to out sprint most of these guys so I would go early and hope that I could catch them off guard.
Timing is everything on a move like that. I'm no master, but have gotten lucky twice now in execution (Crystal City last year). With one to go I started moving up the inside till I was sitting about 20th. I was looking for Brig or the "Experience" but no teammates were in the vicinity. As we rounded turn 2 (second to last) I saw a move being made across the peloton on the outside by a lone rider. He was about halfway back too so I started my move too which caught the front of the pack off guard a little. As he pulled off the front, my timing worked out that I came off the front as well right onto his back wheel...we gapped the field by enough to cause some separation and put the decision on somebody to decide that they were either going to "catch the break and risk not having power for the sprint" or "wait for someone else to catch the break and get carried up the front for the sprint".
I hate being in that position. Do you chase and risk finishing "not first" or do you leave it on someone else to chase and risk the break "spoiling the party".
We had a little gap, but NCVC and some others were trying to come across. I took a glance over my shoulder and saw that they were coming, so I attacked for the corner and hoped that having clean air, the momentum, and speed through the last turn might be enough to carry me to the line. I knew there was a little gap, but didn't want to look back. Did I go to early again?!? Was this just another suicide attempt?? I didn't want to think about it too hard, I just put the head down and pedaled for the line...and luckily was able to hold on. Not bad considering the week of training. Beers are on me next time boys.
Overal, I'm happy with where I'm at. I'd like to have ridden more overall at this point in the year, but considering I'm healthy and we're riding pretty good as a team...I'll take it.