Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Appalachia Visited / WV Road Race Championship





This past weekend was the series finale for the 2011 ABRA Road Series, as well as the West Virginia Road Rac Championship. I lined up with Todd in the 3-4 race, which was started with the 1-2-3 field. There were 20 in my field, as well as 12 1-2-3's. To start out, the pace was average, with the usual Iron City solo attack from mile 0. At about mile 5 2 1-2-3's rolled off the front, which caused a few in my race to attempt to bridge so I went with them. We got right up to the 1-2-3's and started working together real nicely. We soon were out of sight of the main field and kept a fast tempo up the first gradual climb, down the short, steep decent and up the first steep climb of the day. Somewhere in the middle of this fast, 7-man break Jacob Y from Iron City and I pondered what we were doing in this move but kept with it. A group of 3 riders came up to us about 2-miles from the crest of the hill, which upped te pace a little more. Another few riders made it across near the top, too. We rolled over the top of the highest point in the race, having dropped 2 riders from our move and sped down the decent. Once we got to the flat section, we were all back together in our lead group and ratcheted-up the speed once again. We rolled along the flat section into the feed zone and had gained about 5 more riders but kept pushing the pace, knowing that the decisive moves would come on the final climb of the day. As the climb started, Matt Phillips, AKA Michael Rasmussen Jr. Took a flyer and instantly opened a gap. The field gradually picked up the pace and it was game on! I was able to hang on for the first mile but then lost the wheel of the rider in front of me. The gap to the next 3 riders stayed at about 15 seconds for the next 10 minutes, but then started to widen as they kept their form and I lost mine. Knowing I was in the red zone, I tried to ride my own tempo up the rest of the climb so I could hammer the decent to the finish. From this point on, I rode solo, not seeing another racer until the finish. I love the final decent back to town, with its many sharp turns, followed by steep straightaways. I ended up ahead of the series winner, but not far enough to surpass him. I finished 2nd in the state, as well as in the series overall, despite finishing outside the points in 2 races and missing a third all-together! In the end, it was a good race for me - I was active and attentive all day, but just didn't have the legs to stay with the lead group on the final climb. Next up is the state time trial race in September, back in beautiful Rowlesburg, WV.

Thanks for reading,

-Ben