Sunday, February 28, 2016

Greenville Spring Series #3

This past weekend was the final weekend of the Greenville Spring Series. The Lupus Racing Team fielded a squad of Marcos Lazzarotto, Nolan Tankersley, and myself.

Saturday was the River Falls Circuit Race which was 10 laps on a 5 mile course. This circuit is tough with a 1km climb that averages aroud 6% and is followed by winding and narrow roads for the rest of the circuit. The past two times I raced River Falls the winning break went only a couple kilometers into the race. We knew we had to be attentive if we wanted to get the win this year. Like in years past a group went that included Phil O'Donnell (Axeon), Charlie Hough (Hincapie), and Ian Garrison (Hincapie Juniors). After missing the split Marcos, Nolan, and I were attentive and covering moves. For a couple laps the break was close, but we could just not get there. On the third or fourth time up the climb Mac Brennan surged hard, but no split occurred. I  came to the conclusion that Andy Crater was marking Mac for the Spring Series omnium after a few laps. That made the tactics interesting. Finally, after many laps of us trying to get off the front, with two laps to go I got into a move with Reid Beloni (Greenlife) and John Delong (Amore e Vita). I pulled hard with Reid and John and tried to drop them on the climb each lap. Leading into the finishing climb I jumped hard and dropped John, but Reid was able to hang with me. The leaders came into sight, but I just couldn't keep pushing the same pace. I paid for my surge and underestimated Reid's ability. By the finish I was toast and rolled in for 5th.

The next day was once again the Donaldson Circuit Race. We raced 8 laps on the rolling 7 mile circuit with wind gusting around 15 miles per hour. After River Falls I knew I was close in the omnium and may be marked throughout the race. I told Nolan and Marcos to follow early moves because that would put us in a strong position and would leave me fresh to make breaks late in the race. Two laps in Mac went solo in a brave move. He did an epic 42 mile ride by himself to take the win from us by a couple minutes. I figured Mac would have been brought back, but he proved to be on super form. I spent the first four laps mostly sitting in the field and conserving energy while Nolan and Marcos covered at the front of the race. After 4 laps Nolan, Marcos, and I worked with Andy Crater (Cycle Haus), Phil O'Donnell and Johnny Brown from Axeon. The field remained together. The next lap I worked with Johnny and Phil again to try to split the field but again nothing. With 2.5 laps to go we all just put in a flurry of attacks and finally made a 6 rider split that included Parker Kyzer (Finish Strong), Phil O'Donnell and Johnny Brown (Axeon), Rolly Weaver, myself, and another rider. A couple other riders bridged up to us near the end. In the finale there were once again a ton of attacks. It came down to a sprint of our group of 9, and I came in 5th place. We had one more tough weekend of racing. It wouldn't be honest if I said I wasn't disappointed we did not come away with a win. Mac was just on another level today.

My next race will be Rouge Roubaix in a couple weeks. I look forward to defending my Rouge title with my Lupus Racing Team teammates. It is a really tough and unique race where I had a great time last year. My form is coming along and I am happy to have gotten in a few hard races with my teammates before the season begins.