Crosswinds Classic ’15
Last October I joined Carve. In December I started training with the Road Team. Wednesday nights we did team exercises – paceline, jumps, two man attacks, form sprints, etc. Saturday mornings we rode a 55 mile group ride (55 from my house). And on Sundays we would occasionally meet for a team circuit ride. This went on through January and February. It was cold. And on Wednesday nights, it was cold and dark. But it all paid off. Crosswinds Classic was my first race of the 2015 season. I won.
I really didn’t expect the race to go down this way. The team plan was to start attacking after Turn 2. One man attacks to animate the group. When an attacker got reeled in by the group, the next man would attack. That was the plan – attack and break up the main field so that the finish wasn’t a group sprint.
When we hit T2, I attacked. I say attack but I actually bridged to one rider who had established a lead. When I reached him, I looked back. There were others trying to bridge but we, the leader and I, still had a good lead. I looked at this guy and said, “We’ve got a gap, let’s work together.” We did 4 rotations. Coming up on T3 I motioned for him to pull. I looked back. He shook his head no.
T3 was into the headwind. At this point I was sure that the group would catch me. I took the turn and dug in. I got low and tried to maintain.
After T4 I looked back. No group in sight. WTF. I was out of the headwind so I picked up the pace. Back to T1 at Walker’s Corner and still no group in sight. Plus a tailwind. I picked up the pace some more. About halfway through this section, our team captain drove by in his truck. He shouted out the passenger window that I had a 01:20 lead on the group! “Maintain” he yelled and drove on.
When I hit T2 there was still no sigh of the group. I got another drive by to report that I had a 02:00 lead! I was still in a tailwind so I kept time-trialing.
T3. Homestretch. But headwind. With still no chase group in sight, I continued to time-trial. About halfway through this stretch my sunglasses fogged up. I plowed on. I could make out the finish. I looked back. Still no group. I kept my head down and TTed it through to the end, solo. My glasses were so foggy I couldn’t see the actual finish line so I rolled through in my drops.
Funny thing those foggy glasses. When I got through the finish I pulled over to wipe my glasses. When I got them off, my vision was still fogged! It wasn’t the glasses at all. I’m still not quite sure what happened. I had an eye exam two weeks later. They said that the exertion might have exacerbated a condition I have with high pressure in my eyes. I have thick corneas so my eye pressure has always been on the high side. This combined with the exertion of the 45 minute hard effort might have caused me to blow out my vision. A couple of hours after the race my vision cleared up. But that was unnerving.
Other race notes.
•I warmed up for 20 minutes on my rollers. It was a great leg opener and core warmer.
•I dressed to race. No knee warmers. No snood. I was the only guy with bare legs in the field, which was a little crazy because temps were in the 20s. Friends gave me shit for being in shorts. Did it make a difference? I won, didn’t I?
•I’ve read that this strategy NEVER works. That early attacks never win. But this was a Cat 5 race. It was only 2 laps so it was doable. Also, these were roads and wind conditions that I knew well. All those Saturday morning winter rides were key to my training for this event.
Below is some media from the event. A couple of phone photos taken by a Carve team member watching the race from the comfort of his car (I’m looking at you, Drew) and race report texts from our Team Captain, George Rhode.
Needless to say, I an thrilled to be riding with Carve this year!