This past weekend was long, tiring and incredibly fun and I would like to thank the promoter and organizer for putting on an excellent event despite numbergate (to be explained later).
If you remember Trevor from earlier in the season, we’ve become very good friends over the course of the year and he was gracious enough to host me for this past weekend’s event. So, after a successful job interview, I loaded up my car and headed straight into friday afternoon Baltimore-Washington corridor traffic. Trevor and I went to do leg openers after I got there and I experienced Richmond as any city should be explored, on two wheels. Riding back into the city after a loop through some expansive battlefields gave us the opportunity to see some great vistas of the city rising over the James River. We got the obligatory selfie with me in my UMD kit and him in his VCU kit and Richmond in the background.
The weekend omnium consisted of a Time Trial, Criterium and Road Race with the crit and TT saturday and the RR sunday.
Saturday, we packed the car and awaited the arrival of Trevor’s friend Andrew who turned out to be an excellently entertaining traveling companion. We had some spirited discussions in our various drives. Now, the TT was run out of some school and I consider myself at least decent at time trials so I was kind of excited to see if I could do any damage and put myself near the top of the omnium. Then we got there and saw that a bunch of people had legit TT bikes and I was like “oh, crap.”
Now, here is the big thing that pissed me off when we got there. The promoter had posted on the FB page that our troublesome times of trying to preserve a paper number for the entirety of a weekend omnium are over because they got cloth numbers. So imagine my surprise when I get there and they hand me a paper number. “wtf is wit dat yo?” Here they got me all excited for cloth numbers and they give me this crap. So, I asked why and apparently the promoter initially had the Category 3 numbers printed in a separate series than the 4s (300s and 400s). Then they went and combined our road races because the 3s didn’t have enough people or something. The officials, meanwhile, don’t want to deal with 2 different series because they usually only note the last 2 digits. So as a result, they gave the Category 4s, their biggest category by far, the paper generic numbers because they didn’t have enough 3s. This got me way more angry than it should have but it was a real bait and switch.
Anyway, after warming up, I completed the 10.5 mile course in approximately 25:40 which was good for 12th place. Not quite as high as I had hoped but not terrible either. Andrew, Anthony (another of Trevor’s friends), one the PTS guys and I went for a warm-down up the road as the Kelly guys were warming up by flying along in their super-aero positions.
After some lunch, we made our way to the crit course just in time to watch the 3 person Junior race (guaranteed podium). I was told this crit was the same as the brambleton crit except that they put the finish line in the middle of the arc which is on cobbled brick. So needless to say, I wasn’t too excited for that sprint finish. Before we got started, I realized that our friendly neighborhood squirrel was there from the JMU team. He caused a crash at Tyson’s and one other race from what I had been told.
We went off and I hung around the front making bridges to potential early moves. I was mainly watching Jason from Hagerstown/AVC because he podiums in every race. After nothing got away for the first half, I went back to tailgunning for a while. With 5 to go, I started making my way through the pack. One lap, we were coming into the corner after the straight 4 wide so I backed off because I knew what was about to happen. Sure enough, 2 guys went down in the field and I had to duck around the cones to get back to the field. Unfortunately, this cost me a lot of positioning and I ended up in 26th. Hearing some accounts after the race, the JMU kid divebombed the corner and forced someone into a bad line. After some mexican food, we drove home and had some spirited discussions.
Sunday meant it was time for the road race with its touted gravel road section (about 1 mile out of 12 on this course). Everyone was also kind of nervous due to a 4 mile neutral rollout that turned out to not be so bad. We finally got to the course and today, I decided to stay near the front but not at it, hoping that no moves would get away. I only made one mistake and that was when the asphalt suddenly fell off when I was on the side of the road. I hit the ditch but kept it upright and thought that everything would be fine after that because that’s the worse thing that can happen barring someone nailing me. Two miles later, I reached for the bottle in my seat tube to find it missing. People behind me were chuckling and someone told me that it must have fallen out during my little fiasco.
Moving forward a few miles, I was sitting at the front, forcing my way onto the wheel of the front rider because I had no idea where the gravel section started. I hit it second wheel but the guy in front of me tried to pull an outrigger and flew into the woods, leaving me to lead the pack through that section. Apparently we dropped 10-12 guys through there. After that, I sat on and watched for Jason to go up the road again. I got caught a bit too far back at one point and he got away with 3 cat 3s so I went to the front and assisted Anthony in organizing a chase which never got anywhere. As a result, they stayed up the road and I paid dearly for the loss of my water bottle. Without the skratch that my body usually gets, my body started to cramp and even though Alex graciously gave me a water bottle, I couldn’t keep going. I pulled out after approximately 47 miles out of 51.
After reflecting on my form and inability to solidly finish races, I have decided to bring an end to my mass start season and begin resting for next year.