What a day Saturday, March 14 was for Herbalife p/b Marc Pro – Strava. It all started with Justin Rossi taking victory in the Wards Ferry Road Race with some awesome teamwork by Jared Kessler and Nate Freed. The Land Park Criterium started late in the afternoon, so all three of those guys were able to make it down to sac for the their second race of the day. Besides them, Ariel Hermann, Chuck Hutcheson and myself toed the line with about 60 other racers.
Our goal for this race was to ride together as a team and control the front as much as possible. We wanted to let a break get up the road and then work together to keep it at a reasonable distance. When the time was right, we would reel in the break and keep position up front for the sprint. They wanted me to save as much energy as possible by sitting at the back of our train and keeping other teams from disrupting our chase. As riders would attack, we would sit back and allow them to gain a slight advantage. If the group became too big or dangerous, the guys immediately brought them back. When the composition was right, we would let the gap open a bit. A few different moves got off the front, but we never let the gap grow to more than 15 seconds.
The guys had such a smooth paceline, with everyone doing there share of work. Behind us, there was a lot of fighting for position and at some point around half way through the race, there was a crash that several riders got caught up in. At the front, we didn’t even know it happened until the next lap when we passed the pit and saw about 8 guys sprinting to get back in.
With about 8 laps to go, the break of 3 up front was coming apart. This allowed our guys to save some energy and most importantly, gave my final leadout, Chuck, a chance to sit in and recover for the sprint. At 5 to go, the pack behind was getting ancy and with the 2 remaining breakaway riders just a handful of seconds ahead, guys were going around us and sending flyers up the road. We communicated often about the movement around us and the guys did a great job keeping everything in check. I don’t know how they all found the energy to ride at the front all race after already having such a long day, but when they needed to lift the pace in those last few laps to keep the attacks at bay, they somehow found a way. With the laps winding down, the break split, and only Nielson Powless of Hagens Berman was all alone in front.
We brought the break completely back with about a lap to go and then everyone around us began fighting for position. We had the Mikes Bikes train coming up on one side and VuMedi on the other. Hagens Berman sent someone attacking off the front and at this point I was down to just Justin and Chuck in front of me. Justin took an amazing pull to bring back Hagens Berman as we went through the turns on the backside of the course. Just then, Bryan Larson of VuMedi attacked off the front. He quickly got a gap, and with only about 600m to go, Chuck had to make a quick decision. He jumped, and immediately went all out. I stayed on his wheel and going into the final right hand turn Chuck was digging deep. He kept it going out of the turn and brought Larson back with about 300m left. He wasn’t done yet though, and I yelled “GO CHUCK”, knowing that it was still too far with some fast sprinters lined up behind me. The first to give it a go was James Laberge of Champion Systems who came past on my left with about 250m. I knew I had to make my move, so I jumped and caught some draft off Laberge and at about 150m I went all in. I was able to accelerate past James just before the line to take the win! Saving energy throughout and being in the perfect position for the final sprint were the keys to victory and that is all thanks to my Herbalife p/b Marc Pro – Strava teammates!
Thanks for reading!!