After way too long, I’ve finally won my first race! Definitely hooked to bike racing now, nothing quite like the feeling of coming across the line in first. Wanted to thank Mike’s Bikes and our other sponsors for their support. Especially wanted to thank my teammates Travis Mceuen, Mathias Jacquelin, and Matt Swartwout for pulling the right moves to ensure we landed a win.
Here’s how we planned the race…
Our strategy going into the race was to ensure Mathias remained in good position for his omnium run and to setup either Travis or me for a sprint at the end. We decided to keep the strategy open to how we met those goals. We were open to letting a break go (of course with one of us in it) or staying fresh for a final sprint. Regardless, we wanted a fast race.
Here’s what happened…
Right from the gun, Matt attacked to get a small break going, we wanted a fast race and no better way than hitting it right from the beginning. Then, we had Mathias attack solo to go for an anticipated first last prime (turns out there was no prime despite the race flyer); this strategy worked and we had Mathias off the front all the way until halfway through the second lap. With that – the group was back together with two laps to go.
The race was pretty hard with lots of attacks coming from other teams, we decided to follow wheels over the proceeding 20-minutes. On lap three a group of four broke off the front (with me included) and I was absolutely gassed; so, I decided not to pull despite some angry break counterparts.
The group came back together going into the last lap and sat up. Going into the last two kilometers of the race the field was going the speed of a casual group ride; then there was an attack from Dolce Vita and everyone followed. I was sitting third wheel coming into the first of three hills to the finish and, unexpectedly rolled off the front. I look behind me to see there are a few bike lengths between me and the field and decide to launch an all-out attack. The attack was a tad early, but that’s the best way to surprise a field of tired bike racers. I was absolutely full gas for the next 800m and put 9-seconds on the group! But, I was running out of steam and the wattage started to decrease.
I looked back and the group was starting to bridge. I put one more massive effort over the second hill and rounded the corner for the last 100m into the steep, terribly steep, bump. My 100m sprint was weaving all over the road, but I managed to stay away from the group. With only 3-seconds to spare, but no matter how much they bridged – I won the race!
I’ve realized how much of a learning curve it is moving up the categories in bike racing. But thankfully, lots of these strategies I’ve already internalized and continue to each race (e.g., when to work in breaks, timing attacks). This is in part due to the strong leadership we have on Mike’s Bikes and support from all my teammates. Excited for the remainder of the season and what our team can put forward. Onward!