Ok those 26 days went by fast. Sorry about no update.
So I traveled down to Greenville again this year with my dad. It's turned into our thing. We got there plenty early which gives us time to relax, ride some nice roads and get ready to race. We took full advantage of all the above with rides on Friday and Saturday and plenty of relaxing for myself.
This years race had a smaller field whether it be because the later date, budgets of teams being on their last pennies, or some riders knowing their fate and with a mix of a good number of protour/pro continental riders it left a bit of uncertainty to the race.
We stuck with the basic race strategy. Have a couple of guys follow the early moves, a couple of guys follow moves in the middle of the race while two guys wait towards the end.
As soon as the race started the early move went. 4 riders were off the front and the rest of the peloton seemed to be in no hurry to react. So much that after two 5 mile opening circuits we started to think they were going to lap us. That is how slow the field was rolling. Most races you watch they are always commenting on how many kilometers the race went in the first hour. This one would be no different, but for a different reason. Confused? Well it's because we did 31.4kms for the first hour. SLOW.
There were plenty of teams that didn't make the break, but a poker match was being played. Who would help chase? When would it start? The domestic teams were looking at Garmin and BMC to chase. They wanted help and nobody wanted to give it to them. What about Radioshack? Clearly once the break got over a 17 minute lead heading into Paris Mtn for the first time they were fine with Trek Livestrong and future Radioshacker Ben King up the road. Also with Chris Horner stopping 4 times to pee in the first hour they were in no hurry to get going.
BMC went hard up the climb the first time, but at the top the pace slowed again. They tried to keep the pace going eventually with Garmin and this is how the race would continue. It just got a little faster and a little harder.
The field would shrink on the 3rd and 4th accents up Paris Mountain. All the riders from the break would come back by the 4th lap, except Ben King who was still feeling comfortable with a 9minute gap. I came a bit off the back of a 15 rider group on the final accent, but fought on the way to the top with a couple of other riders and was able to get back on at the bottom of the decent.
The horsepower was running out in the field, as most teams had been widdled down to 1 or two riders, but Garmin and BMC continued their effort in closing the gap as they still had multiple riders as did RadioShack. Their efforts however, would come up short as Ben King made a phenomenal effort in winning the race after going from the gun. We were still sprinting for second, not a jersey, but a nice result. I was moving up in our group when the pace instantly picked up and soon I was in the spot I basically was for the finish. A gap had opened up a few spots in front of me on the last riser before the downhill finish. I sprinted by a couple of guys for 12th. I needed to be in a better spot earlier and there's no reason for that mistake.
Well I was pleased with my result as it was my best for that race, but it leaves me excited and motivated to improve on that because I know I can. The good news is that I will get my chance in Greenville again as the race is returning there for two more years. Not only that, but I don't have to wait that long as the race will now happen in May.
Till next season