This weekend was by far the easiest travel weekend I have had in a long time. The race was in Sterling, MA which is only 90 minutes from where I am staying and it's an easy drive.
I was joined by Ralph, Ryan, and Steven who came along to spectate and race.
Steven (Benidorm Bikes) is by far the most excited and motivated rider I have seen at a race in a long time while Ryan (Trek) takes the more relaxed approach. Both did great in their races and then turned their attention and shouting voices to the pro race, each lap I could hear them shouting at the top of their lungs. I decided it's not too bad bringing your own fans to the race!!
I managed to finish 6th on the day. It was a strange race for me. I felt really good at the start, but wasn't that aggressive and at the end of the first lap I was back in the second group, maybe around 8th. The lead group was just starting to form as the groups were starting to split, but I was still too far back in my group so I waited for lap two and sat comfortably in while the race heated up around me.
After the wide open road section I punch it super hard and was amazed at the speed and power I had. I felt amazing and by 1/2 way through the lap had easily bridged up to the top 5 group. I was almost blown away by how easy I had bridged the gap, that is until we went over the super tricky barrier section and I found myself 10 ft off the back. I have no idea what happened, I think it was a mental lapse, maybe because I had just bridged and was not thinking about the course so I wasn't set up for the barriers, but all I know is when I got on my bike they were gone and I was chasing hard.
I continued to chase the group but knew I couldn't get back on when they came back out on the road section so I waited for group 2 and sat in. Another lap goes by and I can see the lead group is still not far ahead so I surged again and again I gapped my group and was well on my way to the lead group. I was no more than 10 ft off the back when TJ attacked and blew the group apart. Unfortunately, I was blown and I never actually made contact the second time. His acceleration broke the lead group to three, with two in between and then me and a group of four.
I was pretty mad at myself for blowing it twice so I sat on the back and went pretty easy while Jesse Anthony pulled at the front for 3 or four laps. He was doing a great job of bringing back the two in front, who I thought for sure we would catch and then I'd jump them all for 4th, but with two to go the gap to them went back up so I attacked my group and only Jesse could respond. I attacked the last lap up the run up and gapped Jesse which I was able to hold to the finish for 6th.
It wasn't my best result and I felt like I had better legs than to finish 6th, but I've been blowing up it seems at the last few races and at this race I was going much stronger at the finish and that is what I really wanted to work on.
It's a pro's life. Race, eat, sleep - at least that's what these guys think. We all had a good time though and it was fun to have company along for the day.