After 70 miles of racing, 5 seconds.
I raced the 40+ 4/5 category. Liquid Velo had a very strong team with at least 3 contenders and a team of 6 or so. That made it difficult to keep tabs on them. Ultimately, they got someone away on the last lap of the road race (at one point his gap was 1:30). Jeremy, the race leader and I talked about him as we watched him establish a gap in the next-to-last-lap. We were riding slow. “A snowball’s chance in hell,” Jeremy said. We couldn’t see him on the final climb, and didn’t know how much time he had on us. He ended up beating me by 5 seconds for the GC (General Classification).
I was racing with just a heart rate sensor (not power). I used my Wahoo heart rate strap paired to my Garmin watch and it worked well. I set a target of 40KM/h. Previously, I’d done the 10k TT in around 16:10, so my goal was to get into the 15 minute range. I took it slightly easy out of the gate (the opening stretch is conveniently downhill). I was able to hold the aero position (elbows on the top bar) for nearly the whole time. I concentrated on pushing a slightly-bigger gear at a slightly slower cadence (70-80 RPM). A tailwind on the long straight turned into a headwind on the homestretch. It was a painful last few minutes, but I eeked out 15:21 for 4th overall.
Breakfast at Charlies with teammates was a highlight of the weekend. Their waffles taste like doughnuts!
Before the race, we each took turns giving Morgan (Cat-5) conflicting advice on what to do in the crit while taking practice laps. Finally Justin L zeroed in on a key issue: tire pressure. Morgan reduced his tire pressure, and tried racing from the front (rather than the back), and did well.
I wanted to be opportunistic, but not over-expend myself trying to win time primes. I was in 4th but 25s out of first, and there was a max of 22s on offer for time primes. I got the 1st time bonus by following a wheel and sprinting around. I passed on a couple of cash primes and then got 3rd for the last prime. The last lap, a Liquid Velo Rider took off on the back straight. I thought for sure he had left too early. Two years ago, we picked up a rider like that in the sprint. But this time he stayed away. I worked through traffic to find Chris Joose’s trusty wheel, then sprinted around for 2nd.
Four full times up Mud Mountain road. The first one with no time bonuses, the rest with KOM time bonuses up for grabs. Race leader (Tacoma Cyclist Jeremy Cuoco) and two strong, but lesser-known riders (one that beat me at IVRR, and one that led me out in Poulsbo) made a break the first time up the hill. We had to work to catch them, but we caught them just before the second time up.
After being dropped on the third time up last year, I was thrilled to be capable of capturing time bonuses and 2nd for the race on the final lap. The mistake I made was not checking the results after the crit. Unbeknownst to me (the results must’ve come in later in the evening) I had actually earned my way to 3rd place after the crit, and the results had shuffled. In the road race, I was watching the wrong two Liquid Velo riders (the ones that beat me in the TT). Their team was strong and I needed more teammates.
This was a huge improvement for me over previous years — the field was a touch slower this year, but I was also quantifiably faster. I’m writing another post on some training tweaks I’ve done in the last couple months in the lead up to the penultimate Volunteer Park Criterium.