Let’s just say that I love this race but absolutely hate this crit. It’s so boring and so short. For the masters it seems almost impossible for a group or individual to get away. I tried 4 separate times and had good representation once but to no avail. Found out at the end of the race that my skewer was loose and wheel could very easily touch both brakes. Total rookie move. I even thought I heard something during warm-up but never got off my bike to check.
Uh, finished 20th or something.
Stage 4, circuit race – nationals preview.
Top 3 dudes were firmly in place and it was very apparent they, or at least Phipps’ team, wasn’t going to let ANYTHING get away. They chased everything down. Kuddos to Sam Krieg sitting in 3rd – he must have put in 20 attacks but he wasn’t getting anywhere. I put in two hard attacks and got good separation, maybe too good because nobody came with or nobody wanted to make up the gap. Knowing I wasn’t going to stick it by myself I made it look good to keep Phipps’ team honest.
But I felt great, much better than for any of the other stages. I never felt too hurt on the climbs and recovered easily on top. All I really had to do was mark the 5th and 6th place GC dudes (Bourcier and Carino) since if they go away or time bonuses they could leap me in GC.
Fun part of the day was the second time going up Archie Briggs – you come into this climb doing about 38mph and it ramps into about a 20% climb for 15 seconds. About midway up the steep ramp I was standing, tapping out a nice rhythm when some dude starts leaning into me, hard. Really hard. I was going down, or so I thought. I’ve played a bit of hoops and soccer and just leaned right back into him, unclipped my left pedal, held it up and sent him tumbling off into the sage/gravel. He wasn’t happy with me but it was his fault and he got what he deserved.
Okay, on to the finish. The last time up Archie was hard but not overly so and across the top Carino put in a big move and I was glued to his wheel. Phipps being Phipps came with us and we had a good gap – probably 5k to the finish. We started working but the field was on us in about 30 seconds, so we sat up. Then on the little puncher before the downhill into the roundabout somebody else jumps and Bourcier (6th, 8 seconds behind me) goes with him, so I jump again. The 3 of us have a small gap into the roundabout and now have about 1K to the finish.
The finishing corner is a right-hander through another roundabout that I’ve been pinched at more than once; I was sitting 3rd wheel but we weren’t going very fast so I knew dudes would come up and try to go around. So I took off, hard. I was first through the roundabout and probably had about 400m to the finish. This was going to hurt. I went all out only to get passed near the finish by Andres Gil (uh, won the field sprint in the crit too – stud) and Borcier, so I finished 3rd on the day. All in all I felt good about the result and kept my 4th GC.
Hoping to find 20 more watts before Nats in a month.