Eric Lagier 5 Mile Solo Escape to Take Victory at Knights Ferry RR 35+ 3
Here are the ingredients for a perfect race;
Dedicated 35+ 3 race = no 1 & 2’s to bully the peloton
1. Noon start = get to sleep long
2. 59miles only, with a meager 2K feet of climbing = An easy start to the season.
3. High sun, little wind, and warm temperatures (Boy I love California)
4. Add 3days and 375miles of Coast Ride as base miles and continuously doing serious training rides with the ThirstyBears!!
5. Being accompanied by Piers Barry.
It all started with a nice 2.5 hour drive out to the middle of nowhere together with Piers and Piers’ friend, David Campbell. We did our usual 15 min warm-up, riding up and down the road for 2.5 miles, primarily to test that our gear was race ready. However David used the opportunity to have a flat. Better then, than during race.
Knights Ferry Road Race 2014 – 59miles out and back twice.
Field was 40 man strong with Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team, Bell Real Estate Cycling Team and Team Fremont/FFBC p/b Chipotle well represented. Especially Kovarus with 9 riders had the opportunity to dominate this race. Piers and I were in sync with our tactics. Stay in front, control the race, ok to let one guy go and let him hang to dry 15 sec out, but if anyone tried to bridge or more riders go, stay on their wheel. Do not take any pulls ourselves. We were only two riders and could easily burn up all the matches trying to control the race.
12 Noon we are off, tempo is modest and Piers and I sit in the middle of the field, but I use the first little climp to get up in the front to be sure to stay in control of the race.
Givargis Betoshana from Bell Real Estate Cycling Team had sneaked off from the gun and few noticed this until we approached the turning point first time and he comes flying solo way ahead us. The Kovarus team sets tempo up in front and we bring back the first break. Then follows 40 miles of constant attacks from Kovarus and a few other teams, but they are all half hearted and chased back. Dave Rossow from LuxVue – SunPower Racing takes some massive pulls and I stay tucked away just behind him. Martin Szwarc and Tim Zsoka Team BP/Sierra Nevada/Reliable is active contributing in front. Unfortunately Martin Szwarc flats and missed out on the finish.
Our tactics is working out. I have closed down a number of breaks while Piers conserved his energy to go for the win as we get closer to the finish. However, having chased down 8-10 attacks over the first 50 miles it seem more and more likely that it will be a sprint finish and there are many strong legs in the field.
We come to the rail road tracks, which naturally slows down the field, and Dave Keefe LuxVue – SunPower Racing attacks. I turn on 750 watts and within seconds I am coming up fast behind him. I look around and see that I managed to gap the field, so I shout to Dave “lets do it” as I fly by him and for the next 30 sec we ride together. We come to a turn which I corner full speed. As I look back, Dave is gone…Shit, 5 miles left and now riding solo with a field of 40 chasing me. Should I sit up and wait or go all in? I go all in.
I know Piers has been saving his batteries all day, so the longer I am out there with the others chasing, the better are Piers’ chances to counter attack and go for the win once they swallow me up.
I am in adapted TT mode, pulse hammering at 185 bpm and ride in the screaming red zone. I don’t look back once, as its serves no purpose to see if the are close or not, just focusing on keeping the pace at maximum. 1 mile goes, 2 miles goes, 3 miles goes…I cannot believe that they have not caught me yet. I am at a tipping point, fuel is fast running out of the tank and I am starting to doubt that I can hold the pace much longer. I get to think of my solo stunt at last years Snelling RR and it gives me renewed energy to try harder.
I see the 2km sign! Only 2 short km to go, but it’s the 2 km with all the climbing on the course. Not really what I wished for, but how hard can it be? I need to make it. As I hit the 1km for the final climb I get into the little ring and spin as fast as I can. It’s do or die. I cannot look back fearing that the hungry chasing group will be right behind me. They must be right behind me. Half way up the top I see Rick from VeloPromo standing on the side and I shout to get him to tell me where the chasers are. He replies “They are coming fast”. I dig deep and pull out the last juice, the 200m sign is coming up, I get up and start sprinting, No one is going to take this from me now! 20m and I turn my head and to my surprise they is no one near. The field is just passing the 200m sign. I F***ing MADE it. One hand in the air for victory!! Gasping for air. This is how races are won.
According to Raceshape I managed to quickly built a gap of 20sec, which grew to 35sec after 4 miles. The last mile I lost nearly 20sec especially on the climb.
Piers did an amazing job as I went away. Piers went up in the front and continued to take false leads helping to keep the tempo down. Coming up to the climb, Piers went for it, but unfortunately too many grabbed on and of fear that he would pull the chasers up to me he sat up. Thanks Piers!!! – The dynamic duo is back!