Crossroad Criterium Series #4: Mocksville, NC
Last night was the Mocksville Criterium. We brought a full squad of eight guys, but the field was MUCH improved from the previous three Crossroads races: Anibal Borrajo from Colavita was there, Mark Heckman from Toshiba, and a host of other top professionals.
The race was very fast from the gun, and in the first five laps our team was very aggressive and basically shattered the front of the field. I saw Adam Meyerson, Jon Hamblen, and Tom Soladay up front in the break and the chase group just behind the break, so I sat up through some turns to let the gap open up. I also marked a move that tried to get up to the break, but when we had a good gap and I saw a teammate on the front slowing things down, I put my head down and went to bridge the gap . . . unfortunately, I didn't have that top-end race intensity after two weeks of no racing in my legs, and when the guy on my wheel jumped around me to close the final gap, I couldn't get on him. I sat out in no-man's land, coming within three seconds of the break while they played some games for a little bit, but then someone in the break attacked and my gap to them increased and I was toast!
It was quite frustrating, as having me in the break would have been great because I could do a big leadout for Adam Meyerson, as well as get another top-10 for the team no matter what (the break quickly lapped the field only 30 minutes into the race because the course was only 0.5 miles). However, our work was cut out for us after the break lapped: sit on the front and keep the pace steady and progressively increase it until the final sprint.
Daniel Ramsey, Andy Baker, Jackie Simes and I were the four guys rotating from 25 laps out, and each guy would take a pull for one lap, get off the front, and slot right back in to fourth position. Things were super smooth, and all eight guys were in a single file line at the front for most of the race . . . then Tom got to the front and got the pace about one or two mph faster, Dan took over for a MONSTROUS six or eight lap pull at the front traveling almost 30mph average, and swung off with 2.5 laps to go. I took over for exactly one lap, but I was already close to the rivet after holding Dan's wheel! I went until I couldn't go any longer, then David Guttenplan took over for one lap, Tom took over on the back side with Adam Meyerson on his wheel and Jon Hamblen sweeping people off--textbook.
Unfortunately, Adam was overtaken on the inside on the final lap by Anibal Borrajo and unclipped before almost colliding with the fencing on the outside of the course. Jon put in as good a sprint as he could and took fifth, while Adam rolled in for 10th out of 10 in the break, happy to still have his heart beating.
Overall, it was a pretty well-run race, but things got messed up in the final lap. I was disappointed in myself for not making it up to the break, but at the same time I am very happy to have good sensations from my first race back after a pretty gnarly injury! I looked at the SRM file and it was quite impressive with a 325 watt average (including coasting) for the whole race and a 360 watt normalized power. My final leadout pull for one lap was 454 watts for 1:30 after over 10 minutes of 330 watts average and 28.2mph! Also notice the first 10 minutes was mostly above my 380-watt threshold, probably why the legs locked up a bit midway between the break and the field.