Pensacola Stage Race Day 1 – Road Race and Time Trial
Road Race Summary
I’ve got a 4th place streak going on here with two races in a row missing the podium by one spot. The race went well until the final sprint where I came in a disappointing 4th from a 5-man break after losing the wheel of the winner Grant Potter (Z-Motion). Phil Gaimon (Kenda) for sure deserves most aggressive rider since he realized that Grant would win the sprint from our breakaway group and repeatedly tried to dislodge him with attack after attack in the last 10 miles. But it was altogether for the finish with Grant taking the win, Jonathan Atwell (The Hub) 2nd, Serghei Tvetkov (Aerocat) 3rd, me 4th, and Phil 5th. Our break had a sizeable margin of 3-4 minutes over the field by the end.
Time Trial Summary
The time trial was amazingly fun and also went pretty well. I surpassed my predicted 6 minute power threshold by a few watts (see annotated CP curve towards bottom of this post). My goal at the beginning of the time trial was to focus on maintaining a lap average of 375 watts. After the first couple minutes, I was still well into the 400s, so I began to be really motivated that maybe I could maintain 400 watts for the entire TT. But then my legs started to fade and my power started to drop. I still had a lot of upper body strength left, though, so I stood up and cranked it back up to 400 watts a couple times. Normally, this would be a big time trial aero “no-no”, but with a massive tailwind, I’m pretty sure that it was OK since I was able to get my speed back up both times. In the end, my average speed was just over 29mph, and my average power was 395 watts. Checking the results today, it looks like I was somewhere in the top 15 maybe around 13th, but I was last place of the five of us in the break from the road race, which put me in 5th place on the GC going into Sunday’s criterium (next post). Time trial data posted at the bottom of this post. Also – kudos to John Hart for absolutely smoking the time trial with a time of 5’35″ for an average speed of 33mph!!!
Road Race Details and Data
Here is how the road race played out:
1st lap – there were lots of attacks/chasing in the first few miles with one group of 3 eventually getting away and another group of 3 chasing. When we made it to the longest hill on the course, Phil Gaimon (Kenda) attacked hard. A few of us were able to hold his wheel as we caught the break by the top of the hill. They latched onto our group essentially turning the race into a field split. There wasn’t enough cooperation in the large front group, so after a few miles the rest of the field caught back up to us. I believe there were a few more attacks to finish off the lap, but it was basically all together by the start of the second lap.
2nd lap – Towards the beginning of the second lap, a small group of maybe 3 or 4 riders including Jake Brewer (Herring Gas) rolled up the road. I attacked repeatedly to try to bridge across, but every time field would string out and chase. John Hart (Friends of the Great Smokies) was able to escape, though, and set out in pursuit. A few more riders were able to get away solo and chase. Eventually, there were at least 8 guys up the road including Serghei Tvetcov (Aerocat). This group all came together into one lead group. I tried a couple more times to get away or form a second chase group before the long gradual downhill section, but I was reeled back in each time. So on the downhill, I decided to rest in anticipation of the downhill. I was near the front when I saw a rider getting ready to attack at the base of the hill. I grabbed his wheel and followed him knowing that the real attack would come a little bit later. Sure enough, Phil came flying around a few seconds later. I drilled it hard and was able to close the gap back up to him by the top with only one rider in tow – Jonathan. My teammate Pat Allison was caught in the middle behind us. I could hear him yelling across the top that he was coming so I stopped working so that he could finish the bridge to our chase group. Unfortunately, Phil and Jonathan were drilling it super hard through a heavy crosswind section so Pat was unable to make the bridge. I was struggling just to hang onto their wheel, so I can’t imagine crossing the gap alone. By the end of the crosswind section, Pat was swallowed by the field and we were getting close to finishing the bridge to the lead group. This was about 3/4 of the way through the second lap. As a large group, we rotated well for the rest of the lap and kept a pretty good speed.
3rd lap – A couple miles into the start of the third lap, we could see that the field was not too far behind us. At this point, the commitment level in the group really dropped. People were still pulling, but not very hard. At one point, after John Hart and Phil pulled I noticed a gap behind Phil. So I attacked hoping that the two of them would come with me to form another group. They didn’t, though, and so I ended up riding off the front solo for a couple minutes. When the group came back together, we continued rotating but the impetus was definitely gone from the group. This was right when we reached the rolling section on the front side of the course. I noticed another gap opening up behind Serghei as he was getting ready to pull so I attacked again and this time there were three of us together. Phil and Grant bridged up to us a couple minutes later to form the final break of five. At this point in the race, we worked together really well with everybody pulling hard because the rest of the break behind us was chasing hard. Eventually, though, we started to pull away and get a sizeable gap. Our group was an interesting one with one strong sprinter and four all-rounders (i.e., not sprinters). For the last 10 miles, starting with the long hill on the course, it was attack after attack. Phil attacked the most with Serghei counter attacking several times with me on his wheel. Jonathan attacked a few times, and I attacked once or twice. Grant was able to chase back each move and still take the sprint at the end!
Going into the final sprint, I was sitting on Grant’s wheel after Phil had attacked and strung out the group. Serghei countered to start the sprint in the final few hundred meters. As Grant surged for the sprint with 200 meters to go, I lost his wheel for a second but was closing it back up to him when Jonathan realized that Grant was the better wheel than Serghei. So Jonathan pulled over to grab the wheel in the space that I had opened up. It was my fault for letting the gap open up in the first place, but Grant’s surge was probably several hundred watts more powerful than mine and it took time for me to get his draft and move back up. In the end, the two of them were able to squeeze by Serghei for the finish and I only made it halfway around him – so the final finish order was Grant, Jonathan, Serghei, me, and Phil.
All-in-all, it was a good race with a somewhat disappointing finish. There were lots of tactical sections as well as flat-out sections as well as strategic battles. Fun, hard racing. Lots of data below …
Road race data
Time Trial data