Tour de Tuscaloosa Race Report
As you might be able to see in the video (no audio – Kristine was screaming so loud she broke the microphone), I couldn’t quite come around Dan Holt (Team Type I) in the sprint after he had such a fast jump when he started the sprint, but it was close, and 2nd was good enough for me to take home the state championship! Jacob Brewer (Herring Gas) rode an awesome race, but came off of our three-man break on the final climb with 5k to go in the race. Jacob, who is racing really strong with a great showing at Rouge Roubaix a couple weeks ago, took home the silver medal, and then my teammate Pat Allison got 2nd in the field sprint to win the bronze Alabama medal (5th in the race).
So how did it get to that point? Well, there actually isn’t a lot to report about this race other than at the beginning and at the end. At the beginning, I went with Scott Kuppersmith when he attacked as soon as we made it out of the neutral zone. Our short-lived attack only made it a few hundred meters before the group caught back up to us. Still pretty early in the race, we had a fairly mellow pace up the start/finish line hill. Then as we neared the top of the hill, I saw that Jacob Brewer was about to attack so I jumped on his wheel as he attacked. Then a few seconds later, Dan Holt (Team Type I) had bridged across to us. This meant that three of the major teams in the race where represented in the break. That was the first good sign. The second one was when I turned around and saw the field spread out across the road (meaning that the pace was still slow). This gave me super motivation, and I poured everything into my next pull. I wasn’t the only one, though, because Jacob and Dan both pulled very hard. We had a minute and a half gap by the time we made it to the feedzone on the first lap. By the second lap, our time gap was up to 3 minutes. By the third lap, we had drawn it out to 4 minutes. By this point, our pace had slowed as we were all trying to save energy for the finish. Even so, we held the gap at about 4 minutes for the fourth lap. By the fifth lap, however, the gap had come down to 3 minutes. By the sixth lap, it was 2 minutes. And by the end of the race, our gap had dropped below 2 minutes.
Here is how the end of the race played out. We had picked up the pace on the last lap since the gap had been coming down quickly. Still, all of us were taking shorter pulls because we all wanted to have energy left for the finish. As we approached the start of the feedzone hill, which is split up into two steps, I decided to attack on the first step to see how everyone was feeling. If everybody stayed together, then I was going to attack again on the second step. But when I attacked on the first step, Jacob came off so I laid it down with Dan latching on. Then as we went across the false flat between the steps, Dan pulled through before I took over again on the second step. Coming across the top and the downhill, we worked together and had extended our lead over Jacob enough to cat/mouse our two-man sprint. Neither of us attacked and our pace slowed until Dan led out the sprint with 200 meters to go. His jump was incredible and he gapped me by a few meters immediately. It took about 100 meters to catch his draft, and then with 50 meters to go I pulled out to try to come around, but at 40mph it was hard to accelerate any faster and I ended up only making it about halfway around him by the line.
So Team Type I capped off a great weekend with back-to-back wins. Going to be a great season for them!
Our team had a great weekend, too, taking 5th and 8th yesterday and then 2nd and 5th today in the Pro/1/2. In the Cat 3 criterium yesterday, my teammate Justin Bynum make the winning break to finish a strong 6th. In today’s Cat 3 road race, Philip Thompson made the winning break finishing 5th, which was good enough for the silver medal as the 2nd placed Alabama rider. The state championship win went to Ed Whitehorn of Velocity Pro Cycle who has worked very hard this off season and is showing off great form this season.
The heartrate and Strava data tell the story, too, as you can see the numbers drop from the beginning of the race towards the end before picking up again on the last lap:
2011 Tour de Tuscaloosa P/1/2 Road Race heartrate data
Here are the Strava segments including my lap split times, power, and heartrate average along with my times on the two hills on the course. View the entire ride interactively here – http://app.strava.com/rides/369573
Saturday night P/1/2 Criterium
Cat 3 Criterium
My teammate Justin Bynum made it into the break of the day, finishing a strong 6th. My other teammates raced well with Philip Thompson snagging a prime, and Timo Stark taking third in the field sprint for 9th in the race. Here is a video of the Cat 3 break finish:
And here is a video of the Cat 3 field finish:
And then here are the photos from both last night’s criterium and today’s road race: