USPRO Road Race Championships
For most Labor day weekend marks the end of the summer, the last chance to go on a trip with the family and kick back and relax. For us American cyclist it lets us know that the end of the road racing season is upon us, but of course not without one of the toughest races to decided who is just the best American road racer.
Last year was the first year that the USPRO road champion was crowned somewhere else other then Philly in many years with the race taken place in Greenville, South Carolina on course that included 5 ascents up Paris Mountain. Not only was it at a different venue it was now closed to foreigners and only open to American citizens changing the dynamics completely.
This year there was a bit of change to the course which included 3 small circuits at the start on and only 4 ascents up Paris Mountain, not to mention the start list was bit shorter with only 108 riders deciding to partake in the grueling challenge.
Right from the beginning the race was fast and attacks were going. The field was stretched out on the twisting and tight open circuits and some small gaps even formed before the eventual early break went up the road. You can read about most of the details on cycling news who break it up pretty good, but here is what I saw.
The first, second, and third time I was in great position, thanks to my teammate Clayton who basically lead me out to climb and I was in the top 5 all three times. There is nobody in the peloton better to ride behind, and I made a few riders jealous of my teammate. The second time heading towards the climb Im sitting on Clayton's wheel and Baldwin looks over at me and goes "He's like a semi-truck, I wish he was on my team." Haha, he's on my team. Thanks Clayton.
It felt good riding right behind Levi those times, well of course that was till the third time when he attacked and you know what hit the fan.
We had a decent pace going as was and then like a motorcycle trying to get out of the way and up the road Levi took off with Baldwin on his wheel and I never saw him again. My jaw just dropped as he took off, of course it didn't drop that far as it was already basically on the stem. From there the pace of the race picked up and hardly let up.
The last ascent up Paris Mountain wasn't killer at the beginning, but picked up towards the end and once again another selection was being made as guys from the early break and those who had bridged up to Levi where all coming back one by one as the rest of us where trying to go forward. It soon enough came all back together, of course without Levi and it was a very nerve racking last few miles. Guys were attacking, some would bridge, some tried to catch the easy ride because fatigue was setting in. It was tough, and to be honest I wasn't feeling that great. With two finishing circuits to go my fate became apparent when I got tangled up with someone and broke some spokes in my rear wheel and had to get a change. I managed to get back up with the second group, but wouldn't have a chance or be able to see the front group again. I guess I'm just lucky I was able to get back up to that group, but the adrenaline was flowing and I actually felt like I got a second wind in after the wheel change. I ended up sprinting in for 17th.
I can't complain at all with my result, but once you get that close to an even better position you really want more. So some more hard work and another season of racing before next year and hopefully I can improve on it.
So just some riding and back to helping out the Marian College team as they prepare for Track Nationals. They all have been working very hard. I seen them basically kill themselves as they competed against each other in a 15 lap scratch race the other day. Also I heard some of them killed it the other day in some timed events. It must be all the coaching I've been doing. Racing wise next will be the Priority Health Crit in Grand Rapids followed by the Tour of Missouri with the National Team. So as quickly as the season is almost over there is still plenty of hard racing to come.
Thanks for reading,