Super Happy Fun Sequim
Today showed that we could chip away and eventually have someone in a break that sticks. It was a fun little experiment. Cat3 has been tough this season.
Travis, Chad, Connell, and I drove over to Sequim last night to stay in the hotel for a whopping $20 each. The downside? Spooning with a hairy sprinter. Whatever, it’s a team effort from start to finish right? We were snoozin before midnight and up at 7, with Travis nuking a lethal amount of steel cut oats in a huge ice bucket jammed inside a not-so-huge microwave. Four smelly dudes in a hotel room is a good reason to get out and drive 10 minutes to the start line, which we happily did.
The rain was coming down pretty hard, with no end in sight while rolling into Sequim. As we got closer to the race area, the weather got slowly better and eventually turned into broken overcast with no rain. Sweet! Roger was nowhere in sight at the start. He missed the boat, took the late ferry and rolled into the start about .487 seconds before the rollout. We were pumped to see him, rounding us out at 6 guys in the field.
The first two laps were pretty hot with no real fouls or bikes being tangled up, which was good. On the first and second laps I tried to get away but they reeled me and my friends right back in. Right after the bridge on the 3rd lap, everyone started sitting up and eating and drinking, then HSP started drilling it and strung out the field. I was hanging out a little too far back and used this as an opportunity to slip up the right side of the thin peloton of 60 or so. Travis and friends were glad to see me, but I couldn’t stay and chat. The guys drilling it were just now sitting up and nobody was passing so I just kept the ball rolling and punched it off the front, taking about 6 guys with me. A few minutes later, Travis shows up with two other dudes. Now we are about 9 deep in the break and the gap was widening. The paceline formed up and we began taking short pulls for the rest of that 3rd lap.
Our gap was about a minute at the end of the 4th lap and guys were starting to fade. Travis was still in it with me and we had a couple super strong guys, all from different teams. We had a minute and thirty seconds on the peloton during this lap, but people started getting complacent. Some started to skip pulls. One guy flat out raised his hands and declared he was cooked, fading away into the distance.
The 5th lap brought more slower pulls and some easing up on the hills. This got me nervous, so I hammered it on the hills for a minute or two at a time. This effort dropped another guy. Travis was still looking strong and we were beginning to talk about our finish strategy. He was the man and I was going at 500. We approach the finish line to start the final lap and a blue rooster rider who thought it was the end of the race drifts over the centerline. The car honks a bunch, then drives up alongside us and disqualifies him right out of our breakaway. lame!
The official in the follow car pulled alongside again and told us the gap was now 50 seconds. Whoops, that’s not good. 12 miles left, time to concentrate on the pain.
There were 6 of us left and we were all doing pretty good work, until we looked back and witnessed the pack bearing down on us. 30 second gap now. I started whipping the other guys, taking bigger pulls, drilling it on the little hills. We popped another guy on that last rise as I was blacking out in the front.
15 second gap now, coming into that final right turn. We looked back and the pack was chaotic, frantic. Later we learned there was a crash that broke things up a bit. The guys with Travis and I weren’t really drilling it yet with 1k to go. I sneak up the right and take the front, ratcheting up the pace for our finishing sprint. There were two apex guys in this break. That means I can drill it on the front and they don’t chase (solo win) or they can follow me and give Travis the leadout of the century. They chose the latter. I disconnected at about 350 and Travis took it home, winning the sprint by a good margin. The unlucky guy in front of me dropped his chain and unclipped his left foot in the last 50 meters, so I went around him for 4th.
Then we looked back and watched Cemanski rampage across the line to win the field sprint. Zing!