Back in Corsicana! After a not so stellar Joe Martin (crash & DNF) it took a little while to rebound but nonetheless I knew Corsicana Stage Race was going to be fun and a good event. Zac Lytle puts on good races and finds us great courses to race on.
Having won the TT there last year I definitely wanted to repeat that this time around. We had a better field than last year, too. Almost twice as many with 40 or so P12's. Nothing stellar, but not bad for May in Texas. The morning TT was a nice treat to the usual RR in the morning, TT in the late evening. You could actually focus on it, warm-up and don't feel overly tired from the RR earlier in the day.
The TT went well. While racing, I didn't feel super awesome and nobody had results until 4hours or so later but I ended up having the fastest time of the day, if also only by a second ahead of DaveW and two seconds away from Colin. It was fast with a cross/tail-wind all the way and I was glad to have chosen the 1080/Super9 - combo. After a 3rd (Fayetteville), a 2nd (Tyler Stage Race) it was good to finally win a race this year.
The "Beatdown on Beaton" Crit in Downtown Corsicana later that evening was definietly the most exciting Crit this year so far in terms of course. Actualy bricks and I forgot how many turns on the 0.8 mile loop through downtown made for some good racing. The Overall was based on points so I needed to make sure to a) not let any of the "heavy hitters" go up the road and b) gain/score as much points as possible in a potential field sprint. Halfway through the race Mat Stephens and Tristan Uhl got off the front and had a good 20seconds and I had to make an effort to chase that down. Since I didn't want to let it come down to a sprint and risk loosing the lead, I was hoping to stick with a break myself. Somehow, I forget how, I ended up off the front with Stephens again with 6 to go. We had a few bike lengths after I closes some gaps and we instantly put our heads down and gave it 100%. The gap opened up, more and more, and it was clear we're staying away. Me being 1st Overall, and him wanting to win the race and being 8th or so on GC was a good combination. I was content and didn't care about the first or second in the Crit. So I kept driving it and came around the final turn first but I knew there's not much to do against a sprinting Mat. We did the last 6 laps at a NP of 375W - pretty alright after a long day.
Racing in the evening always kind of messes with your body since you're still all wiry from racing or some pre-race coffee. So getting some rest ASAP before the next day's 7:30 90mile road race was crucial.
After a 5:45am wake-up call I quickly added the GC standings to my math/clue-sheet. Stage racing based on time is somewhat straight forward, based on points gives it a bit different approach as you need to know who's where in the standing and how many points they have....or have not. I've lost a few places in this road race last year being 2nd Overall (?) so I surely didn't want to do that today. I had a decent 7 point lead over Mat Stephens but there were a few other guys in contention. The early break went and that was fine with me: Break's gone, points are gone. But these guys obviously know how to race and want to win, too. So after Crozzy attacked a couple times (and me and occasionally a few other GC guys chasing it down) he finally got away at the end of the first of 4 laps with a group of 5 or so 6 to make a front split of 10 or so guys. That was bad for me and my GC but I kept cool. I figured this is a LONG race and guys are going to get tired. There was some crosswind, it was getting hot and we still had 66miles of racing left. With ~10 guys up the road our field was down to just 30 guys and it got smaller and smaller as time went on. On the 2nd lap I literally hit "a little bump in the road" when I broke a spoke and my rear wheel was dragging on the frame. Luckily the wheel truck was right there, I got my ROL spare wheel and joined the field just 3-4minutes later. We were riding tempo in a pace-line at that point at that time but the guys quickly slowed down, too to let me catch back one. Pure class!
The race got a bit harder thanks to Super Squadra who had a guy (Wheeler) in the break but still wanted to race their bikes so they rode a nice rotation in the crosswinds. This helped to make the race hard and whittle out some guys who just sat on. There were a few attacks going off from our group but nothing got away really. Mat threw down some serious punches in that last lap to get away but I was able to respond to all of them....barely! It was "mano-a-mano" at it's best. So finally, the last time into the cross/headwind Mat threw down another 1100Watt surge and I was barely able to respond. Wenger and Arteaga joined us. Somehow everyone was wanting to gain time/points on the guys behind us. The break was still way up the road but we were putting time into 4th and 5th GC. I was thinking that I needed to make sure to finish just with Mat and still get 2nd Overall since I kind of thought Crozzy won the Overall by now. But by that time, a few guys had either dropped, quit or flatted out of the break and we were actually racing for 6th place (which I didn't know until after we crossed the line). I was able to get away from our little group of 4 just a mile from the finish but Mat caught me right on the line for 6th, with me getting 7th. With the way the points work I didn't know until 20minutes after the finish that I was able to hold on to the GC lead by a mere of two points ahead of Crozzy (who won the stage) and Mat.
So happy all the addition of points in my head during the plus 3 1/2hrs, 3000KJ's, and NP of 285W of racing was over!
too tired to hold my head up in the TT (photo: Lee McDaniel)
Yep, digging deep doesn't always look pretty. (Thanks Jim Hicks for capturing the moment)