I got a lot of effort in with not much to show for it except for some experience that will hopefully help down the road.
I had no idea what to expect in this race, but I was going into it with the idea of trying to hold my own against some of the areas best and see how I stacked up at this time in the year. The race started pretty quick and I was fortunate to make the main group that was chasing a lead group up the road. I mainly stayed out of the wind and towards the front of our group for 6 laps while ABRT, Vaughn, and NCVC did a pretty cool job of pulling back the break. On the 7th lap, we caught the break and the pace picked up quite a bit. I had a mental lapse and started slipping towards the back and was in the wrong place (trying to catch a draft of Jared Neiters in the gutter (during the period that he called "...the hardest point of the race..." and just didn't have the fitness to hold on. It was a weird sensation. At one second right before I was feeling fine and thinking that I was going to be able to finish and the second, I was off the back wondering what went wrong...so is bike racing I guess. DNF for the books.
1. Stay towards the front of a road race early, especially when it is windy.
2. If your in a chase group that does catch a break, move up quickly because the counter and the up in speed is guaranteed and you don't want to be off the back when it does.
Tysons isn't a race that I'm totally fond of. The hill takes a lot out of me over the course of an hours race. Maybe lack of fitness, maybe the huge carcass I'm carrying around, or just maybe something else...who knows. Also, the downhill makes breaks hard to stick as the pack can really carry a lot of speed if it wants to. I felt pretty good going into the race. I got in an early move that seemed to stay away for most of the race. There were two guys who were definitely stronger than the rest of us in the break and they were barking orders the whole way for the 3 of us (who weren't as strong) to pull through. Problem was that they were setting a pace on the uphill that left the us in oxygen debt by the time we got to the top and worthless on the backside. I told the guys that they had two options: Ride away from us and try to go at it alone or slow the f#@# down on the uphill so that we could be of some help on the backside. If I was in there shoes I would have ridden away from us...which they agreed with and did. One guy stuck it and hopefully he puts in for his upgrade because that mofo was as strong as an ox and isn't going to be challenged in the 3's. Once the pack caught us I was hoping that my team would be relatively fresh since they probably wouldn't have been doing much work trying to chase down the break. I found Brandon and we made the silent agreement that I would lead him out going into the final turn. Joel strung it out going down the backstretch and right before the final turn we were sitting 5th and 6th. There was a lull, so I took us through the turn 1 & 2 and started the sprint. Problem is that it is a looooong way to the finish to be going from the turn. I was good for maybe 200 meters and guys started coming around slowly. Brandon saw that and he jumped from my wheel to the line. I hadn't taken us far enough (nor could I) and he got swallowed up before the line...probably top 10 or 20, not sure. We'll have to wait for the results to see for sure. I rolled in with what was left of the non-sprinters. Finished somewhere between 20 and 30th...maybe.
1. If you're in a break with 5 guys and there are two who are obviously stronger and WILL win the sprint if it comes down to a sprint, stop working so hard and sit in. Either you get pulled around and are fresher for the finish, or the pack comes back and you get your team to take a shot at the finish (better odds).
2. Don't sprint from the turn at Tysons.
3. A leadout at tysons needs at minimum 3 guys (2+ a sprinter) to work successfully (at the 3 level).
Tough weekend of racing and some good hard miles are in the bank. Just wished there were some better results to show for it. At least I got some inspiration for training...