Here is an inside look at the Cat 5 Copperas Cove Race
We started at 1:10 and it was hot. They said there would be a bottle hand-up, but not until mile 33 so I had three bottles with me. We rolled out very slow and Ryan and I sat on the front and soft-peddled. A few miles in I joked to Ryan that I should take off like I was attacking just for fun. When it came my turn to pull I put in some effort and apparently it strung the group out, so I went off the front. Ryan came out and joined me and they started to chase us so we eventually decided to sit up. The second half was reportedly very windy and we did not see staying off for 45 or 50 miles. We rotated through for the majority of the first half with a couple of faster sections but nothing too bad. Apparently the group was doing a decent job of keeping the pace up though as the group was splitting. At about 25 in a kid went off the front and stayed out there for a while. I bridged the gap and joined him and two dudes followed me. We worked together as a group rotating through for a few minutes but never got in a rythm. They chased us down relatively quickly. At this point our lead group was down to 10 of us. I was pretty much out of water by the time we got to the mile 33 aid station. Took one small bottle of gatorade and a small bottle of water. Drank most of the water then dumped some on my head. That leaves me with a 20 oz bottle of gatorade for 21 miles. Not good. At this point it had to have been 100 degrees and the jersey was open and flapping. We worked together as a group into the crosswind, with the majority of the people just sitting on wheels and Ryan and I and a few other guys taking turns. We were in an echelon across the entire road (no center stripe). The dude in the wheel truck behind us kept honking at us then finally drove up beside us and started screaming at us and calling out numbers and what-not. For the record I was in the right hand gutter the majority of the time. We finally made the right turn for the home stretch, directly into a head wind. At this point I decided I needed to zip my jersey back up. So I sat up with no hands on the bars and tried to zip it up. Huge gust of wind. I really almost fell and took out Ryan with me. As well as some of the guys behind me. Dummy move and the jersey stayed open the rest of the way. The remainder of the ride back in was a death march. I ran out of water with about 10 miles to go as did most eveybody else. The last ten miles were rough but no one really pushed the pace. And very few people worked. there was a lot of sitting up and looking at each other. And dried salty people with white lips. At about 45 miles in I took a turn pulling. I leaned in and pushed a little bit and realized I was going off the front. Then I remembered that Ryan had said we should attack about 10 miles out. So I kept going. Eventually Ryan bridged. I actually believed that we might have a chance. So Ryan gets out to me and as he rides up he gets on my wheel for a bit then I turn and see if he will pull through, he says, "dude I just sprinted all the way from the back give me a sec." We take a few turns and he fell back. I was not far off the front and when I came to the first big hill I immediately decided it would be a sprint finish and I sat up. Fast forward to about 51 miles. I have been near or on the front for a while and figured it was times to drift back. I did not want to be surprised by someone sprinting for the line. Just as I moved back from the second spot to about the fifth spot I could see the cones in the road up ahead, marking 200 M to the finish line - the course was a little short. The pace picked up a bit and the first one to go was the dude on a Colnago. Then an AT&T / Brain and Spine rider made his move to get on Colnago Guy's wheel and I went with him as he was strong. I sat on his wheel as he went past the guy in front and he started putting in his sprint. I sat and sat and sat and pushed as hard as I could and made the move about 25 meters out. Both of my legs were cramping and there was no standing by either of us. I guess I timed it perfectly and I went by him and won by literally a half a second. I was actually a little shocked. Cool. Rough day.