Oxford Hills Road Race (Day 3 – Georgia Cycling Gran Prix)
Clearly, the hot conditions took its toll on everyone. I had to spend quite a bit of time in the EMT tent recovering with cold towels and drinks before I could make it back to my car! Here is the temperature graph from our race:
Temperature graph for the oxford hills pro/1/2 road race
The average temperature was 95.5 with a min of 89.5 and a max of 109.5 by the end of the race! HOT!
Today was one of those days where my final placing wasn’t what I wanted, but I was still happy with the race. Kudos to my teammate Justin Bynum for taking 2nd today again in the 3′s. He is on fire!
The field today was much larger than previous days with 79 people starting the race. Our Pro/1/2 race was again combined with the 3s with the placings separated out at the end. We raced in the heat of the day (1:00PM) for 7 laps of a 10 mile loop. I figured that an early break had a good shot at staying away due to the conditions. But with so many people eager to do well, none of the early moves stuck. There was a 3 place KOM on the second lap. I made it onto the back of the sprint for the KOM and into a break of 4 Team Type I riders, 2 Aerocat, Onal Samuels, me, and maybe one or two other people. We did not work well together and were caught after a few miles.
On the fourth lap, a break materialized with Alexey Schmidt (TT1) and two other riders, but no Chemstar and no Aerocat. Aerocat had spent a lot of bullets chasing a strong solo TT1 move on the third lap. So they were not able to make much headway on the three man break. There were several small attacks, but no one got very far except for John Hart (FGS) one lap later on the fifth lap. I saw an opening to attack to try to bridge up and attacked hard. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring any TT1 or Aerocat riders. Instead, I was on my own chasing. I chased hard and quickly (maybe 5 minutes) closed the gap to John as he sat up to let me join him once he realized I was coming across the gap.
We worked well together, but the field had decided to take up the chase. We were caught towards the end of the fifth lap shortly before the start of the sixth lap and the steep feedzone climb. I was out of water by this point and managed to grab another neutral water but slid all the way near the back of the group. After the feedzone climb, the course descended for quite a while before starting a long, gradual drag up to the KOM. There had been lots of attacks through here throughout the race, but I let myself slide too far back so that when the attacks went again this time, I had to drill it through a field that was exploding on the long gradual climb. Eventually, I worked my way into one of the last chase groups. Unfortunately, several of the smaller groups and riders ahead coalesced into a strong group of 11 that rolled away from our field, which had swallowed the chase group that I was in.
On the last lap, there was a two-man move that went clear of the field at about the same place on the course – the long, gradual KOM climb. This time, I was close enough to the front, to bridge across to it when I saw that the field was sitting up. I made it up to the two riders right at the top of the climb and went straight to the front to pull the downhill. On the subsequent uphill, we lost one of the riders so it was down to just me and one other rider. I pulled really hard, but the other rider was able to pull and give me a break every few minutes. From the spot where I attacked, we still had nine miles to go. By the time we were down to just two riders, we had about 8 more miles left on the lap. We could see the lead group of 14 riders just ahead of us and continued to close down the gap. Eventually, we made it to within 20 seconds of the lead group, but at that point I believe they started pulling away again so that we finished about 20 seconds behind riders who had come off the back of that group in the sprint and about 30 seconds behind the winner. We had extended our lead on the field to almost one minute! I took 15th, and my breakaway companion took 16th.
Here is my power data and Strava segment data:
NAME DIST SPEED POWER HR TIME Lap 1 10.4 mi 25.7 mph 253 watts 168 bpm 0:24:25 Lap 2 10.5 mi 25.5 mph 208 watts 167 bpm 0:24:39 Lap 3 10.5 mi 24.5 mph 182 watts 154 bpm 0:25:38 Lap 4 10.4 mi 24.8 mph 189 watts 158 bpm 0:25:21 Lap 5 10.5 mi 23.9 mph 196 watts 160 bpm 0:26:18 Lap 6 10.5 mi 22.4 mph 173 watts 154 bpm 0:28:01 Lap 7 10.5 mi 24.4 mph 246 watts 176 bpm 0:25:45