Monday, March 23, 2009

Fayettville Stage Race

This past weekend was a tough way to end a nice and relaxing spring break. This was partly because of the always hard Fayettville Stage Race which consisted of a four lap 65 miles road race on Saturday followed by a 6.6 mile time trial, and a 6 lap 95 mile road race early on Sunday. With teams coming from many different states the racing was sure to be extremely tough, but I was nothing short of ecstatic when I took my first P12 victory in the time trial.

Saturday Road Race
My main goal for this stage was to conserve energy, so that I would still have some gas left in the tank for the later races. I moved up to the front early on in the race and just tried to stay there for the majority of the race. I was never really put into difficulty and was able to stay up there. I saw a few friends that I haven't seen lately, such as next month's Jr. National Team Member, Alex Battles-Wood, and "gossiped" a little. With about one to go a group of five including, Steven Wheeler (Super Squadra), Carlos Vargas and Robbie Robinette (both Team Hotel San Jose), Chad Haga (A&M), and John Korioth (Team Six). I didn't see them roll of the front until it was too late. With Texas Tough not represented in the break, Stefan Rothe got to the front and set a steady tempo to try and limit the losses to the break, while I sat towards the front to keep safe. With about one kilometer to go the break had gotten about 40 seconds up the road and there was no hope of catching them. I tried hard to position myself towards the front for the sprint and with about 500 meters to go I found myself pretty far back in about the top 20. When the sprint opened up with about 200 meters to go I found myself being able to pass many riders on the left hand side and finished sixth in the field sprint (later moved to 5th) for 11th on the stage (later moved to 10th). During the sprint, about halfway through the pack a gap had opened up which left everyone in the group seven seconds behind. Steven "18-Wheeler" Wheeler ended up winning the stage ahead of Carlos Vargas and John Korioth.

Saturday TT
The course was a fairly challenging course with rolling hills for the first half with a headwind and then a crosswind before you turn right on a flat road with a tailwind with about four or so kilometers to go. I definitely excited for the TT mostly because it would be my first TT on my one week old Cervelo P3C (thanks again mom and dad!!). With a headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back I knew that I could start hard and still be able to finish fast. This is exactly what I did and I came through the finish with a time of 14:08, two seconds shy of the course record set by two years ago Tejay Van Garderen, at an average speed of 28.6 mph (unfortunately my SRM wasn't calibrated properly and my power was incorrect). With still a lot more strong riders still coming in I was hoping it would be good enough for a top three finish. It was. I ended up taking the win which catapulted me into fourth place in the GC.

Sunday RR
All I can say is "Ouch!" With my longest race I had ever done I was expecting it to hurt like no other, but still...It's a day after and I was having trouble walking all day during school. The race didn't start out to hard, which I was thankful of, and I just sat towards the front trying to conserve energy. With about 40 miles left in the race a group of eight containing David Wenger and Ian Dille (both Super Squadra), Stefan Rothe (Texas Tough), Heath Blackgrove (Team Hotel San Jose), Joshua Carter (ABD Cycle Club), Micthell Comardo (Bike Barn), and Kolt Bates and Joseph Schmalz (both Mercy Cycling Team). With most of the major teams (major teams!!! Only Alan will get this...) represented in the break the pack was happy to let them go and they quickly opened up a four minute gap. About 60 miles into the race I was really hurting. I found myself in the very back almost crying in pain with fellow juniors, Alan Ting and Alex Battles-Wood. I then just tried to recover and hang on so that I could finish in the pack. With one lap to go, about 17 or so miles, I got a second wind and was able to move back to the front. I covered a few moves to try and salvage a top 20 placing, but was unable to go with the move that stuck which involved John Korioth, 18-Wheeler, and Pat McCarty (Ouch-Maxxis), and three others. With about 10 miles to go, another group of about six rolled off the front. I missed this move and was force to chase by myself. With about five or so miles the group had gotten about 20 seconds when I decided to put in a solo attack. I quickly opened up a pretty big gap on the field and started to close the gap on the group in front of me. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to fully close the gap down by the finish, and was finished about 10 seconds behind that group, but I was able to hold the pack off by another 10 seconds. I ended up 22nd on the stage which dropped me down to 16th overall. I was definitely happy with my performances this weekend, especially since it shows I have good fitness for my first European trip coming up on March 31st to April 14th. Well, until next time!


Alan said...

Dood Lawsome write up m8. I was just eating some popcorn, and I got a kernel stuck in my teeth...kernel stuck in my teeth!!!

Ed Scardaville said...

Great Job Lawson! You drilled that time trial like it was a private racecourse of your own. Private racecourse of your own!

Ha! I get it..