A race report from Ryan
Races at the Lake week 2 saw a much-reduced field for the Men’s category 4/5 race. A smattering of other regional bike events including an MTB race and an early season gran-fondo kept the field size small. The first week saw 29 racers and this week saw only 19. The weather was cooler also as there was more cloud cover; at race start the temperature was only in the upper 40s.
My goal this week was to remain present toward the front of the field, but refrain from doing any real work at the front unless force to. I knew, from the previous week, that a small break away didn’t really have a chance at staying away, but any more than two people up the road could be threatening given the small field size. Remain toward the front, but sheltered and really step it up in the last two laps and bury myself in the last straight to go for the win; this was my plan.
We all know what happens with plans, right?
The pace of the field stayed quick through the beginning laps, but not too fast, no one was really pushing the pace very high and I found myself at or off the front routinely, as no one attempted a break-away until the 4th or 5th lap. I brought back a two man break with the help of the pack and then (inexplicably) I found myself off the front although I didn’t really try to get a gap or put myself there, I was just trying to maintain a quick pace and take my turn on the front… I guess I missed the “slow down” memo.
Well, that lasted almost an entire lap, I was brought back heading down the hill into the start/finish area, and what was worse, heading into a prime lap… So I was trying to recover on the prime lap and ended up not being competitive for that prize… Starting with the prime lap, there was one semi-successful attack by a solo rider and they were able to maintain a 15-20 second gap for two laps before they were brought back with 3 to go.
Just like I thought, the pace picked up at the start of the final lap as people were trying to position themselves for a field sprint finish. I was able to stay close to the front of the field, and heading into the final sprint, my legs were able to get me 7th place in the field sprint, an improvement on last week, but still off the podium.