This was my first targeted race of the year. I knew I had to be in good shape for Hermann but this one I was really trying to be mentally and physically ready to win. And I came o so close. There were multiple plans for the race in case things didn't work out everyone knew what to do next. The first plan was I was going to try to get into a move. That was what I had done last year to win this race as a 4 and my strength is more in my long hauls vs my sprint. I was unable to get a group of guys to work well enough to stay away though. We had some Lindenwood jerk off who didn't know what it really took to stay in a break and fucked it up. He was super strong and could have really helped but he decided that since there were two 708 riders in the group that he could sit on and just let us do the work. This would have been more understandable if we were 2 or 3 laps from the end, be we had just started and my teammate Mark French had just pulled an entire lap and when he tried to pull of Lindenwood jerk off wouldn't pull though. Now I know that I am still relatively new to racing but this kid was wrong here. First off 708 would have done twice as much work as the other 2 in the break because there were 2 of us. We were not going to sit on because we wanted the break to stay away. There was also a CBC racer who is massively strong and our group really could have stayed off with the guys we had. But when you have one guy who thinks that they can get a free ride in a break it is never going to work. So Mark pulled off first and I stayed on to let Lindenwood do some extra work and then I just sat up. I got back in the group and quickly recovered. I road up to Mike and told him that I was feeling like I was good for a lead out. I made sure my eating and drinking was good and that I stayed hidden from the wind and near the front. This almost didn't work though and there was one rough crash that almost brought me down. A rider in front of me and to the right got tangled up and freaked out so he went down and of course he had to go down right through the middle of the field. I felt really bad because I ran right into him hard. I almost stopped to see if he was okay but we were racing and I would never expect another racer to stop for me unless they were on my team. So the bad outcome for me though was that I was now very far back, and it was going to take a match to get back to the front on my own. Thankfully Keith was right there and he saw me and took me right to the front. Once we were there he went to the front and brought back a break away all on his own. The man was a beast, but after that he was spent. With just about 10 min left in the race I was on Mike's wheel and I was glued there. He was doing a lot of work and looking for the rest of our team to be coming up but no one was coming. Mark made it up with 2 laps to go though and that was what we had to work with. Mark started is push with about one lap to go and really drilled it. I found out later that we were spitting guys out like crazy. Mark was able to pull for just over half a lap and then Mike took over. Mike was probably smoked already from his pulling me around for that last few laps so he took me to the short hill before the sprint. Before that I had not heard anyone riding near us, but once we hit the hill I could hear them coming. I had to jump hard to try and stay with the 5 guys that came by. Turns out I had to jump too hard. I used up a 1000 watt spurt to get up the hill and with only about 30 seconds to recover I was unable to put out my best sprint. I put everything that I had though and was able to hang on for 7th place. I was bummed that I used up all my guys working hard for me and was not able to get the win for them. I want them to know that if they work for me I am going to pay them back for that investment not waste their effort. We still have some work to do in that respect as a team but we are getting better.
After the 3/4 race I jumped back on the trainer and stayed warm for the 123 race. Man these dudes are fast. The hill in this race was 50% faster and more watts every lap. These guys never slowed down either. And I forgot to mention it was raining a lot. In the end I was dropped from the leaders and raced with a group of maybe 10 guys at the biggest. By the end we were 5 and I took 2nd out of our group which I think was 12th or 13 for the day. It was fun racing in the rain though, the last race I did in the rain I did horrible so it was good to get my "water wheels" back.
Fun weekend overall, next will be O'Fallon Gold Cup.