My first race of 2011 is in the books. It’s always nice to get the first one out of the way. I had been questioning my level of fitness, just hoping that I wasn’t going to be dropped before the halfway point. I was joined at this one by new teammates Keith Hillier and Chris Turner, who helped calm my pre-race nerves. We had a nice warm-up together and were all on the same page regarding race strategy.
As soon as we lined up, the nerves were gone. Although the field was relatively small, I think all three of us missed clipping into our pedals and ended up at the back of the field to start the race (I really need to get me some Speedplays). Unfortunately, the split happened early while we were all still out of position.
All of the big teams were well represented in the break and had teammates to help disrupt the peloton’s chase efforts. Keith tried to bridge for a few laps but was chased down. Finally around 15 minutes into the hour-long race, I had a go at bridging up to the break. I went hard for a solid few laps, cutting the 15 second gap down to about 6 seconds at one point. I noticed a Metromint rider bridging up to me, so I decided to wait for him; two heads are better than one, right? Another few laps later I noticed Keith trying to bridge up to us, but unfortunately, he never made it. Metromint and I spent the remainder of the race stuck between the chasing peloton and the break (who eventually lapped the field, but not us).
I heard the announcer yelling to us that we were going for 8th and 9th (prizes went 8 places deep), so I had started to plan my finish. I sprinted out of the hair-pin, opening a soild gap, and held it through the chicane and to the line.
Aside from Keith, Turner and myself (and soon-to-be Cat 1 Spencer), Marc Pro-Strava was well represented thanks to the solid fan base; fan-to-athlete ratio was at least 3-to-1!
After team camp, I was absolutely stoked on the guys I’ll be riding with this season; after the Ronde and reading our other teammates at Cherry Pie, I haven’t second guessed the thought. Now I just can’t wait to do a race with the full squad.
Check out my race data on Strava.