Day 1: Road Race
The D’s field on Saturday was small relative to the races at NCSU, almost certainly due in part to the horrid conditions at 8AM. With temperatures hovering slightly above 40 F, the rain came down steadily. Despite the weather, a few brave souls lined up to race their bicycles.
After a relatively tame first lap, with no major attacks and only a few times where the pace approached uncomfortable, the second lap saw a shattering of the field on the KOA hill. After a hard pull from Julian (last name unknown) from UMBC, I hammered up the final half of the hill, bringing only Julian along. At this point, we realized that given the conditions and strung out, disorganized field, we had a good chance of making a breakaway. After a couple minutes of hard effort, Shawn Doyle of American University was able to catch the break and join forces with me and Julian. While an unknown rider from William and Mary stayed within sight for a few miles, he was never able to close the gap and eventually faded back out of sight.
With only a few miles to go, the three man break was confident they could hold off the field and began plotting the end. Unfortunately, I was forced to pull through as we re-entered the state park for the last mile of the race and unfortunately was unable to get away before the final downhill. As Julian pushed up the final hill, I stuck on his wheel until roughly the 200 M sign before the day’s effort took its toll and I lost the wheel. Shawn, aware of what was happening, was able to jump just in time to take second by a bike length, leaving me with a third place finish.
Day 2: Criterium
Somewhat discouraged by the previous day’s result (though certainly not defeated), I set out to exact my revenge on the D’s field in the criterium on Sunday morning. Though conditions were damp, they were generally much better than the previous day and the very small 12 man D’s field was ready to go at 8 AM.
Thanks to the fast start of Brooks Mershon, who valiantly hung onto the wheel of an unknown rider from UVA, I was able to comfortably sit 3rd for the first two laps before jumping for an attack on the home straight at the beginning of lap 3. Recognizing I had fresh, warm legs and only 20 minutes of work to do, I was able to slightly increase the gap on each lap (aided by the unlimited course visibility). Without having to worry about other racers, I took the turns smoothly and hit the straightaways hard. After taking both primes, I crossed the line comfortably ahead of all other racers for a Duke victory.