This is what victory looks like. Photo by Craig Huffman
Snelling RR:60 miles (sans the long rollout) and we covered it in 2:22, so averaged 25+ mph. (Or in energy:avg 290 watts, NP 320.) So not particularly taxing (in fact, at 2400kjs, several hundred less than most races. But this being early season, I’ll take it.)
Never my favorite race, Snelling is one of those races that I always seem to just get trapped in the pack and spin along through Stanislaus County, taking in the scenery. So this year, I figured ‘enough of that’ and decided to to do everything (anything!) to get in a break. There were a flurry of attacks mid-way through the first lap, a couple of which felt really promising (last year’s winner, Dan Langely, came up to one and I thought ‘OK, off we go.’). But it was still clumped at the front after 4-5 attempts.
Finally, I rolled away solo (just a tiny, little bit) and Scott Fonesca blew past me with Rich DelValle in tow. I swung over to their tandem and we started pulling hard to get out of sight. Rich was super strong today and took the heaviest pulls of our trio. He’s a no-nonsense racer and a good guy on/off the bike. I always enjoy getting in a break with him.
We stayed on the pedals for the next 4 laps, solidly holding about 60-90secs over the main group (or so we guessed). After the race, both Chris and Shawn both said there was no organized chase from the field. Unfortunately, we only got 2 time-checks so didn’t know where we were, relative to the main field. I kind of figured that the field would pull us back, if just because there were probably 4 different teams that had at least 8 riders to use in the chase.
On the bell lap, Fonseca started skipping pulls, leaving Rich and I to drive. But then he’d hang with Rich when Rich would surge on some of the short climbs around the course.
On the final straight before the turn, which ends just 500 meters from the line, we could see a group kind of massing behind us. No updates or anything, so we just assumed it was the main group. I didn’t like the look of it, so just outside the 1km sign, I tore off from our break. I really didn’t think I would make it (who did I think I was?? Fabian Cancellara??) but figured I’d go out in a blaze of glory (or something).
Anyway, Fonseca pulls me back. But I am not done yet. So I drop behind both Rich and Scott as they round the final corner. Neither of them really give it full-stick at the bottom of the two-step climb, so I just put my head down and tear away on the inside. I fly up the first bump and hit the middle plateau feeling like a beast. Unfortunately, I still had the second bump to get up. (To show how imbalanced it was: 950 watts in the first section of the final sprint, but barely cracked 600 by the line.) It wasn’t pretty but I got across the line first and let out a big ol’ roar, bear-style. Fonseca finished second and Rich, who was the strongest in our group, came home third.
All in all, a great way to start the new season (if I retired now, I’d be undefeated in 2015…)
But naaah, let’s all go get some more this season.