This weekend’s Redeye Velo Stage race was a great weekend to be on the bike. The courses were fun, the volunteers were amazing and the finishes were the best I have seen in a long time in regards to traffic control and police support.
This eight corner criterium course is in the downtown area of Quincy, Fl. It is a fast and flowy course with turn 7 being a bit hectic with manhole covers in the entrance and exit of the corner forcing you to change your normal apex.
After a bit of warm up I headed to the line and was 3rd row. The whistle blew and I got lucky and
found a hole that took me to 3rd wheel within the first 100 meters with no extra work. The first two laps I followed wheels and stayed at the top four. Once people settled in, found their lines and got comfortable I slid back and let others do the majority of the work. Following some attacks that did not result in anything, it became apparent with two laps to go that no one was going off the front. I positioned myself as best as I could the final laps and felt confident in my legs and how fresh I felt. The field made it through turn seven and I was happy to be sitting 6th wheel. We went to round the final corner into the final uphill finish when a rider jammed into the corner causing a crash. A bit of evasive maneuvering lead to a significant slow down and then a massive acceleration to the line. Crossing the line unfortunately in 7th. With that being said I am glad to have all my skin.
The time trial for me was pretty lackluster. The course was great slightly rolly downhill the whole
way out and a nice steady headwind the whole way back. The people that did not pay attention to this really paid for it on the return trip. The 60 second time bonus for those running Merckxx style (no TT bikes or aero wheels taller than 50mm) made it more advantageous for everyone to be on a road bike. This was proven in nearly category where the fastests adjusted times were put out by people on road bikes.
Knowing that I would be out of the GC contention by the end of it I settled in at Tempo and just kept the power to the pedals. My legs felt good and it was a great opener for the afternoons road race.
HOT HOT HOT! Garmin files are showing 100+ degrees. The shade was non existent the entire 2:15 in the saddle and it was apparent that no one wanted to work too hard. Several attacks launched and as long as there was no concern about the 1-2 riders going off the front and taking someone’s GC spot the field let them go only to swallow them back up after the heat and loneliness got to them.
The final lap of the race there were several surges made and the field was split in half. I felt comfortable responding to any of the attacks and then with 5 miles to go on one of the last 3 climbs the intensity picked up and I got out of the saddle to respond and my left calf lightly cramped. Sitting back down I began to push again and my quads got that uneasy cramping feeling. Apparently the 5 bottles of fluid and copious amounts of sodium pills did not help the lack of acclimatization or time in the saddle. I made it through that climb and over the final two climbs with the group.
Assessing my situation and knowing that as soon as I stood to sprint I would begin cramping I decided I would go between two and 3 kilometers out. We were quickly reeling in the two guys in the breakaway and as we caught them the field hesitated. Now was my chance. I attacked up the left side of the group on the uphill and got my initial separation. Keeping the intensity as high as I without cramping I kept driving. With 150-200 meters to go I was swallowed up by 6 other riders and that was my day, rolling in for 7th.
All in all a fun weekend that was very motivating to keep the training up. Hopefully more days to come this summer! Thank you to all who volunteered there time this weekend to help make this event happen.