Race name: Proctor Cycling Classic -- State Championship Race date: Sunday, Jun 27, 2010
This had to be one of the best rides of my career. It was also one of those rare races that started well, progressed well and ended well.
The elite team team had made this race a priority, and we toed the line with six riders who each presented his own threat. With about 40 guys in the field we had solid numbers and were confident in our ability to affect the outcome of the race, which is a great feeling before the whistle.
The race started and Liam promptly set out off the front to try and establish an early move. He was ridiculously active for the first 20 minutes, countering his own moves and single-handedly covering everything that looked promising in the beginning. One move of three or four looked promising and stayed away for a couple laps, but didn’t have the right mix or motvation and got brought back.
Pretty soon after Liam was brought back I put in a counter-attack into the headwind on the backside and was happy to see Brian McVey followed. Over the next lap or two several more bridged up until we settled in as 9 or 10, including Luke who smartly jumped onto one of the bridgers to get a free ride up to the move. The break worked together reasonably well, and with about 30 minutes left we got word that we’d put a minute into the field, which can be attributed to the work of Tom, Ed, Liam and Randy in the field.
The news of the 60 second gap got everyone thinking about working a lot less hard as it was clear we’d stay away. I started putting in some very hard pulls try and whittle the group down, and I could see I was having some affect, but the group was too big for guys to get dropped. With about 25 minutes to race I was on the front on the backstretch and I put in another hard pull and gapped the guys on my wheel, which only motivated me to push harder. I expected a couple of guys to follow, but when I looked over my shoulder my 10m gap had turned into 200m. I put my head down and tried to put time into them as quickly as I could.
I settled into my move and realized I’d jumped with 25 minutes to go, and started thinking about what I’d gotten myself into. 25 minutes is a long time to stay off the front in a state championship race, and I suddenly noticed that it was 85 or 90 degrees out. About 15 minutes later I was 10 seconds off the back of the field, and found that I could chip away at the time as long as I avoided thinking too far into the future. I’d broken the course into its component parts and only allowed myself to think about the section I was on.
I managed to hold onto a 30 second gap to the break and finish alone on the final straightaway. I was exhausted in every way, but coming around the course a final time with everyone cheering made for a wonderful feeling and team victory.
I also gave my first newspaper interview to a local paper, which turned into this.