Waco OMNI Stage Race
I woke up early Sat morning to drive down with Michael Wert from GS Tenzing for the weekend's racing down in Waco.
EARLY wake up, I stayed at my mother's house to make it easier to meet up with Michael in the morning and so had a great breakfast and coffee before the drive (thanks mom!). We get there and go through the whole hassle with all the TT gear (that was allowed). Skinsuit that i need help getting into, shoe covers, trainer warmup, pulling out all the stops to get those fractions of a second. Well it turned out i needed fractions to eclipse my teammates! We had a great ride for ELBOWZ with 1st through 4th and an 8th! I finished 5 seconds behind winner Heath Blackgrove and some fractions of a second in front of my teammate Michael Sheehan and 1? second in front of Logan Hutchings. In a 2.87mi course there are a lot of places to gain or lose 1 second!
The crit was later in the day, being a points based stage race it would be hard to get the right move we wanted up the road. Anyone else up the road with one of our guys could mean them jumping over us on GC. It was a tight, Fawley-centric ;) course with 2 long stretches to the finish. Nothing got very far away until Logan made a massive counterattack and he was gone solo with about 18minutes to go. The field behind would resign itself to sprinting for 2nd. Coming into the finish, Bret Crosby made a great effort on the front to keep us in prime position. I made a mistake when Michael and I got split up coming into the sprint and so the sprint was a blur but we managed to have Heath, Michael and I finish in the top 7? of the field sprint so not all was lost.
We had the top 4 spots in GC with danger men Stefan Rothe and Shane Haga sitting right behind us. The circuit was super cool with a tight & twisty section, a drop of a descent to a tailwind flat, that leading into a significant hill coming into the finish. Well the strong men of the race showed themselves after a few laps of feeling it out as all top 6 on GC made it into the day's break! ELBOWZ had the tactical advantage of 4 v 1 v 1 and so we rode to confirm the gap before the action would begin. The hotspot sprint set off the first round of action and a few laps later Heath made a devastating attack that saw him solo. Logan made the next move to get across and this time Stefan and Shane made their stand and not allow anyone else to get away. The pressure was too much, Logan made the junction with Heath and the hard chase by Shane and Stefan set up the opportunity for me to attack and make it across to the two after a hard chase. You don't know if subliminal messages work telling your teammates to turn around and see you're right behind them so STOP PULLING FOR 5 SECONDS! but you sure as hell do it anyway! I'm glad those guys are on my side, they saw I was just behind and waited for me, allowing me to catch on and recover. We rotated together with only 3 laps to go, assured of our victory, the only thing left was for Michael to win the sprint against Shane and Stefan behind which he did. Bret (who i forgot to mention made the race super hard from the gun thus setting up our breakaway) made the statement even louder by winning the uphill sprint for 7th from the field. It was a definite show of strength to finish 1-4 on GC (and bret's top 8 as well) and bodes well for our form for the upcoming national series races.