Murray State Road Race


The first season of the race was in Murray Kentucky this past weekend. Season’s average temperatures for Murray is around upper 50’s, however we brought the cold with us. The morning of the race was 32-35 and rainy. After registration and warm-up, we started to line up behind Men’s A, and Women’s A racer. Our starts were given 5 minutes apart.

I couldn’t clip in as fast so I started at the back of the pack, no problems though it was a neutral start behind the pace car. The real race started after the first turn. Right after the turn the group stretched and sit on a nice double file group. It was a small group compared to the other races of the day, probably below 20 riders. The race was 48 miles, 3 loops in a 16 mile giant loop, with one climb. We had warned by previous groups about the climb; ‘definitely a small chain ring’, ‘maybe a quarter mile’. We completed the first lap uneventfully, couple of attacks but nothing to worry about. I actually used those attacks for my advantage and moved forward in the group. Before the end of the first lap be caught the Women’s A bunch and passed them. When the second lab began I realized the the drizzling rain had stopped, now we knew the course so pace was a little bit higher than the first one. As I expected the main attack came on top of the big hill. I had no problem climbing it in the group’s pace but I didn’t have anything left to respond the attack, so I let the two riders go. Their teammates immediately blocked the group, I was thinking ‘that’s good now I can recover’. The road was as wide as three abreast, so no one could takeover the four abreast blocking riders for a while. After a hairpin turn other riders jumped to catch the break away. I was still trying to recover from that climb and nowhere close to attacking, and saw three more riders gone. But I wanted to move forward cause I know there would be other attempts the catch the breakaway. I didn’t really see this happening but this was the only explanation I could think of: as I was accelerating to move forward the group was blocked again so I ended up riding away from it. Instead of slowing down to let the group catch me I decided to catch the guy in front of me. I shifted up, put my forearms on my handle bars, tucked into an aero position and start hammering, as I caught the guy in front I looked behind and saw the group far away. I let him stay on my wheel for a while then sat up so he could pull. He was a smaller guy, definitely not a diesel engine like me, and wasn’t happy with the situation, chasing the breakaway. Only in a couple of minutes I heard him shouting ‘Hey let’s wait up for Mike’, I turned back saw another guy trying to catch us. Mike was a bigger guy and as he caught us, he picked up the pace. When the second lap was over it was Mike and me. Before the hill Mike was telling me we were going above his threshold. Now come on, it is either your threshold or we are gonna get caught. I climbed the hill for the third time, Mike next to me, in the easiest gear and the slowest of three laps. On top of the hill, where the guys attacked 16 miles ago, where my lungs wanted to stop breathing, it started to rain again. I was trying to encourage Mike but he was cooked. One more mile and Mike looked back and said ‘They are coming’. I had worked too hard, if I’d let them catch us I had no chance in the sprint finish. So did what I had to do, dropped Mike and time trialed into the finish just by myself, 6 more miles to go. Rain turned into snow, my legs were resisting to move any faster, snow flakes started to accumulate on my glasses. I was shifting into the highest gear downhill and trying to keep the cadance up uphill. At the long stretch before finish I looked back, they were still too far to catch me. I shifted up two more gears stood up while on the drops accelerated into the finish. I placed 6th after the five men breakaway.

It is probably the worst thing to say after a race ‘I would have…, I should have…’ but I would have jumped while the other three did to catch the breakaway and I shouldn’t let them go.

The result is not bad at all, top ten finish in the first race of the season, probably some points. Good start!

ps. Photo is from Sunday’s crit, no rain no snow obviously buy icy corners…

2 Comments

  1. No-man’s land is tough business, and you stayed away. That a great accomplishment!

  2. congrats, can. great work.

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