The race started with two riders, DJ Brew and Nick Bax, gaining a 3 minute and 30 second advantage over the peleton! Yowzers! Stuck at the back, I only had a glimpse of the duo going away before the first turn, (and I honestly thought it was just people riding around in front of the race). I didn't really give them any attention until the information that DJ and Bax were up the road disseminated through the group.
Letting the two guys 'out to dry' would be a huge gamble. DJ and Nick are two of my favorite local riders (if you can classify them as 'local'), and aside from their sheer talent, they've got the INTESTINAL FORTITUDE to see a suicidal, mile-0 attack pan out to the finish. I knew that my team and I needed to pull back the break as long as we were still riding for 1st place, but it took MILES to get up to the front of the field. With a centerline rule in effect, the front 1/3 of the race seemed to be populated by blokes who were interested in staying 'at the front', but not doing any work. Like a magical 60-mile leadout. RIGHT.
I had to be VERY vocal in order to get guys to LET me up front, so that I could give them that magical 60-mile leadout to the finish. When I got close to the front, I caught a glimpse of Lindsay Bayer riding very comfortably, at the front of the peleton, with lots of dudes sitting on her wheel, perfectly happy with her endurance warm-up pace. I also heard murmers from the same people about how Bike Doctor was the biggest team, and we were supposed to be chasing. AS THEY HAD THE DOOR SHUT ON ME, WHILE I WAS ASKING FOR SPACE TO MOVE UP IN ORDER TO WORK.
Ok, I got that off my chest.
Anyways, my hopes to race for an individual result went down the toilet, and I resigned myself to work 100% for two of my teammates, who would stay as much out of the break-pulling-backage as possible. Many miles later filled with Bike Doctor teammates rotating with me and XO riders doing a crafty job at blocking our rhythm, we brought back DJ and Nick. Thanks to the MASSIVE firepower of my teammates, we had a new race! And the race was good! There were the usual brutal fireworks that you can expect from the super-fun Giro di Coppi course, and I was staying in the race as a 'just-in-case-i-can-help-more' measure for two of my mates.
On the last lap, I dragged myself to the front of the race to help out Nicholas Taylor, who was outnumbered and isolated at the front of the race. Nick Bax had thrown himself off the front AGAIN and was flying the coup. Another XO rider took off, and the field didn't seem interested in following, pursuing, or even pedaling after him. I took up this task, and as soon as I joined him, he went backwards to find my wheel, as I was obligated to pull, seeing that he had a friend in Nick Bax still up the road. I was happy to see Tony Abate and Kevin Gottlieb bridge up and give me help. Two super strong, super cool dudes. I was SUPER deep in the pain cave after the early-race work, and was keeping my speed up for the sake of not getting dropped, but hoping the whole time that we'd be swallowed up by a hard charging peleton and my misery could end.
We were joined by a late bridge from Tim Rugg, who took a quick breather, then proceeded to pound us to the ground. Tony and I benefited the least from Tim's anti-gravity tricks, but we hauled ourselves back up TWICE when the roads tilted downward. As we rolled to the finishing hill, I attempted to give it one last rev and possibly podium, but Tim's pro-strength and Steve Gordon's euro-race pedigree proved far too fast for me. As I tried my best to match their sprint, my legs began pedaling in some sort of triangular-octagon style, rather than the usual smooth circular pattern. I rumbled my way up the hill to a 4th place finish and promptly laid down in a ditch and hoped to feel some sort of normal again.
Major Kudos to Nick Bax, who was by all aspects the deserving winner. Also cool to see was Lindsay Bayer mixing it up in the Men's race. It did not look at all like a stretch for her :)
Up next, I drive 5.5 hours to home and prepare for another road race the next day in Franklin, VA!