Did two races this weekend, Hillsboro-Roubaix and Tilles Park Crit. I was ready to do a lot of work for the team. Some people hate that but I get a lot of satisfaction from working for a team. I have always been a teamwork kind of guy.
My job on Saturday was to keep Mark out of the wind as much as I could. There were a ton of guys in the field (120+) so staying close to Mark was the biggest obstacle of all. A large part of my passing was done in the grass as we were not allowed to go over the yellow line. There were plenty of guys that did go over though which was supper aggravating. I tried to go no farther than the middle of the road, there were a few times that I found myself out there and did my best to get back to the middle in a hurry. I felt I did a pretty good job of working for Mark. There were times that we were split up, and there were times that Mark was pushing the pace which resulted in me getting dropped. That was fine because Mark's job was to win and do whatever he felt he needed to do to be in the 1 spot.
On the second lap of the race a few guys up at the front put in a huge surge and destroyed the field. I didn't find this out until I was flying past dropped rider and then came to the large gap from me to the main peleton. I just dug deep and said that I had to be up there to help Mark. I caught one South Wheelman rider and told him to hop on. I did most of the work and he pulled at the front to get us the last 50 meters or so. I got up to Mark and told him what an awesome job he did of killing everyone. I don't know why he wants so bad to break away when his forte is the last massive kick of a race, the all mighty sprint. The dude as afterburners and he should use them. After his try at a break Mark decided it was best to do just that and he sat on my wheel the rest of the way back into town. I told Mark that I was not going to be any good to him once we hit the last climb of the race and he needed to do what was best for him once we hit it. I knew this because I was not able to hang on the first lap up that hill and had to chase. I have come a long way since last year but I still cannot put out that much power to stay at the front up that kind of climb, recover, and keep going at the front just yet.
Mark just sat in his seat and motored up the hill like it was a small bump in the middle of Illinois. His power is unreal compared to what he was doing last year. He worked like a crazy man this winter and it is showing already, and we are just barely into the season.
I lost contact with his group at the top of the hill and just pushed at my limit for the last mile or so of the race. I did not sprint for the line or really try to race anymore as my job was done. When I saw Mark he had a smile from ear to ear. It was a great feeling to hear that Mark had won, winning Hillsboro IMO is a big deal and being a part of that is also a big deal to me.
Sunday was Tilles Park.I felt like shit, I was tired, and I thought the day would be me doing a lot of blocking and chasing. The plan didn't go off quite right so I was thinking that our next best chance was Mike as he is the fastest sprinter that we have, maybe Mark is as fast or faster but I don't know. Any who, at one point Mike is next to me and I thought he asked me "how are you feeling?" is said "Good". What he really said was that guy up the road is strong. I then thought he said "why aren't you up there?" when in fact what he said is we need to chase him down. I have no idea how I fucked that up but I did. So what I did next was I took off and chased the rider up the road down. As soon as I got away I had a good feeling about the break. I got a gap really fast and caught the guy pretty easily. I asked him if he had anything left and he jumped on my wheel. We started working together right away. And I was feeling like shit almost as quickly. We were caught by a few guys and we worked well enough together to stay away but I had nothing left int he tank. On the last lap I was attacked while I was on the front. I was not able to chase and just did everything that I could just to make sure the pack didnt catch me. I was able to just coast over the line in 7th place. A much better finish that I was thinking I was going to get at the start of the day so I was very happy with the result. I also was happy with all of the work that I was able to do and the fitness that these races are going to give me. My first A race of the year is coming up soon and I think I have my game plan down, and I am starting to feel very sure that I will be hitting on all cylinders at that time.
Thats me coming across by myself sitting up, totally smoked!