Pensacola Cycling Classic – Day 2 – Criterium and Overall
Josiah in the middle of the large kids field. I’m talking to the promoter in the background about ideas to encourage racers to register earlier for the race — getting ready to follow behind the kids who were very excited to do an entire lap of the course!
Quick summary – 14th in the criterium after botched field sprint, but held on for 5th overall in the stage race. Up ahead in the six-man break, Frank Travieso (Team Coco’s) won a very tight sprint ahead of Michael McBrien (Subaru) in 2nd, whose twin brother Gene would win the Cat 3 race immediately following our Pro/1/2 race, David Gutenplan (UHC/706) in 3rd, and Shawn Gravois (Globalbike) in 4th. Ryan Saylor (Gearlink) and one other rider also were in the break, so the field sprint was for 7th place.
The details – the forecasted rain stayed away, so instead it was hot and humid for this one hour criterium. After a really poor time trial yesterday, I was in a distant 5th about 45 seconds back from Stephan Hirsch (UHC/706) in 3rd and Jan Kolar (HomeSmart/L5Flyers) about 15 seconds in front of me in 4th. I had a relatively safe cushion of 45 seconds in front of Jonathan Bowerman who had come off our break in the road race and finished about a minute and a half behind us. But Jonathan had a smoking fast time trial beating me by 45 seconds cutting his time gap to me in half. The rest of the field came in minutes behind us so unless a break got away and lapped me in the field twice, the worst I was going to do in the overall was 6th place.
I wasn’t going to give up a shot at the overall podium without a fight, though. My only shot at it was to somehow get into a break without Stephan and Jan. I was first off the line and led the pack through the first few corners waiting for the first attack. It came in the form of just one rider (can’t remember who) so I thought for sure that it wouldn’t stick. Then there was one more rider, and then another rider, and still I was on the front waiting for one of the teams to chase. But before you can say “oh my goodness you missed the boat”, there was a solid break of four with maybe 10-15 second gap over the field.
One team missing from the break was Team Coco’s. Frank Travieso corrected that by bridging solo at probably 35mph – given the incredibly short amount of time it took for him to leave our group and bridge the gap up to the leaders 10-15 seconds ahead of us. At this point, I thought not only was the break a done deal, but also that it was going to lap the field within the first 15 minutes of the race. The only thing keeping the break from doing that was a steady effort by UHC/706 who wanted to keep the pace fast enough so that the dreaded “double-lapping” wouldn’t happen causing somebody to leap frog Stephan in the overall. I also think they wanted to keep the pace high to discourage attacks.
I attacked as often as I could – maybe four or five times? Each time I was hoping to get one or two strong riders to go with me, but it never happened. I would go off the front, stay off the front solo for 20-30 seconds and then run out of energy, get drawn back into the field by the steady chase of UHC/706, rinse and repeat. I wasn’t the only one attacking, and all of these attacks had a nice effect of ramping the field’s pace up enough to gradually reel the break back in. At one point we were only 10 seconds back from the break. I had just finished an attack, and the pace in the field had started to slow down when Shawn Gravois (Globalbike) launched a perfectly timed attack and was able to finish the bridge to the leaders a couple laps later. The renewed horse power helped drive the break away from us again.
With eight laps to go, I gave up attacking and started to position myself for the field sprint. I worked hard to stay at the very front and managed to surf through all the surges entering the last corner in 3rd wheel. But I came out of that corner on the windward side of the two riders in front of me — I’m still not entirely sure what I was thinking — it must have been that I somehow thought I was going to have some miraculous sprint — but I was immediately blown backwards by the wind getting passed by 3 people in the sprint and then an additional 2 people within 5 meters of the finish line to finish 7th in the sprint, 14th in the race.
Not a great finish, but I was happy to have raced really hard – especially with all my family there watching and cheering – and to have snagged a top 5 in the stage race classification. Lots of data from the weekend. I was happy to have set a new power record in the road race – confirming that it was indeed a really, really tough race. Here is all the power and heartrate data from the weekend in the following order: road race, time trial, criterium.
ROAD RACE DATA
New record amount of time spent in zone 5 in a single race this year.
TIME TRIAL DATA
Time trial heartrate zones
Criterium heartrate zones