Not sure if the best part is the money, the doomed bunny, the Jefferson Cup I never got when I went to UVA or the stupid smile I can’t get rid of, but I won my first road race today. I sprinted to the win in Cat 4 at the Jeff Cup in Charlottesville, racing in a field of 125 riders drawn from Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and North Carolina.
I’m also not sure I can say for sure how it happened. I talked to several people about the race and absorbed the advice. Stay close to the front going into the big climb; be in the top 15 on the final turn; don’t go too early.
I followed their advice as best I could. I found the race a bit frustrating for how it yo-yo’d, speeding down descents, then crawling up climbs. I had to ride my brakes on the downhills, since I descend like a stone as a big guy, then no one would carry momentum up the next roller. I attacked twice, once in the first lap and again in the second lap, but 4s tend to not let anyone get away. I spent much of the third lap recovering from the last attack and drifting too far back in the field. But I was able to move up throughout the fourth lap.
I think I rolled through the final turn in exactly 15th. The final mile seemed almost as if it unfolded in slow motion and not just because it’s uphill. With about 1K to go a group of three separated off the front by about 10 meters. Someone said later they started sprinting too soon. I sat in the next group about 6th wheel, feeling comfortable and sort of waiting for someone to do something. About 500 meters from the finish, the Carytown rider in front of me jumped to bridge, I went with him. We caught them with about 250 meters to go. He went around them to the right and I jumped left. Suddenly there was no one in front of me. I kept waiting for someone to pass, but I even got to lift my arms as I crossed the line.
I owe thanks to new teammate Nate for driving up there and back, Art for being there and the rest of the Tripower crew for making me stronger every time I ride with them. And thanks to the race organizers for putting on a good race.
Hope someone out there got pictures from the finish.