Piece of Cake: Men Cat 3
Men’s 3 VCC was represented at Piece of Cake Road Race by leader Chris Heron and supported by Alex Turpin, Adam Hadley, Adam Kennedy and myself. Chris is a sprinter with strong man legs, so the goal was keep the breaks in check and have me lead out Chris for the sprint.
On the first lap VCC took charge of the peloton with a little help from Soraz, and right before the gravel I moved Chris up to the front of the group so we were the first two into the gravel. The rest of the lap involved some accelerations and attacks, but nothing to serious, and the Adams did a good job of keeping things in check.
At the beginning of the second lap Kyle Medlin of Soraz attacked on the hill and was speeding away from the group. Several riders tried to bridge to him, and the race was strung out. Alex was with Chris and me, so I asked Alex to get us up to Kyle. He buried himself like no other and brought us close. I came around Alex and finished the bridging to the lead group. I came around them on the right just before the gravel and Chris and I entered the gravel in about 5th wheel. To Kyle’s credit he attacked again in the gravel and opened a 20-30 second lead. Adam K and Adam H worked to keep him in check and a couple other riders attempted to bridge late in the second lap. Adam H spent the last 5 weeks in Costa Rica chasing humming birds, and put that recent bird chasing experience to good use putting in big pulls to work on bringing back Kyle. Both Adam H and Alex gave big efforts at crucial times!
At the start of the 3rd lap Kyle’s gap was getting uncomfortably large. I gave up my roll of being Chris’ lead out, and went to the front to try and get others to work with me. The motto for the rest of the day was ‘Pain is inevitable, Misery is not.’ I was either going to put Chris in a position to win the race or blow up trying. Ultimately there was one team with three sprinters that worked tirelessly with me to push the pace. We had one other racer taking pulls, but I could tell his pulls were half effort as he was apparently saving himself for the finish. Adam K also put in pulls as much as he could, and we all worked as much as possible willing to risk total failure for total success.
Before the last turn we reeled in the two riders trying to bridge up to Kyle and sped past them. Adam Kennedy took over the front of the group and pulled from 3 to 1 k while I attempted to recover a little. I pulled Chris from 1k to 500 meters and at that point people were attacking aggressively on both sides. Chris jumped to these attacks and ultimately sprinted to a top 10 finish.
I continued to work to the sprint finishing next to Adam K, and we saw a crazy crash. Some guy on the right looked erratic, and it seemed he wasn’t sure if he room to finish in the road or attempt to jump to the right side of the finish sign?! I saw him swerve left then right and then attempt to go right of the finish sign. He clipped the sign and flew off his bike which dynamically launched into the air. Just as this happened another guy appeared to swerve from near the yellow line all the way toward the finish trailer and I saw his body past horizontal as his helmet scraped along the pavement. It looked horrific!
Luckily no VCC team member went down, and I hope the two riders that did were not badly hurt.!
We worked hard as a team and spent more time at the front of the group than any other team. Hats off to Soraz for another successful race, and they have become a great racing rival.