Race Report: 2017 Elkridge Spring Classic Men’s Cat 5

What a beautiful day for racing.  Clete and I rolled out for the late afternoon Cat 5 race, which started off at a surprisingly quick pace.  Dave’s pre-race advice to be near the front heading into the climbs was proved super helpful as we shedded 6-7 riders each lap.  There was a moment during the climb on the first lap that I thought I might fall off the back, fortunately the pace eased the next few miles.  Clete and I both spent some time at the front and each time got stranded for a few minutes with no one willing to pull through.  Halfway into the third lap, there was a pop hisssssss from up ahead; my heart sank as I looked down and saw Clete’s tire going flat.  I decided then to not put in any more real efforts at the front.  There were a few attempts at solo breakaways, but most were reeled in within a few miles.

As the laps went on I felt better and better and knew I was going to be able to have a strong finish; I probably need to warm up more to get my legs under me quicker.  The Adventures for the Cure team must have been practicing tactics the last few laps, as they did the same thing each time, with one guy hammering to the climb, one really hitting the climb hard, and then their bigger guy pulling through to the finish.  Sure enough they did the same thing again on the last lap and I jumped in on their train and got towed most of the way up the climb, then threw in a little attack of my own to try and put some of the bigger/muscle guys under pressure.  Fortunately someone pulled through on the down hill heading to the finish and I latched on to take a little break.  I was hoping to be fourth or fifth in line for when the sprinting started, but since I was already the second wheel I decided to go for a surprise and launch my sprint from fairly far out, in hopes that no one had yet recovered from the climb.  Luckily the timing worked out perfectly and I was able to hold off the field to the line; another five meters or so and I think I’d of been caught.

Feels great to grab a non-training race win, especially since it’s likely my last cat 5 race before upgrading.  Thanks to Beth and Dave for the support! Sorry I couldn’t make it out for the earlier races, but good riding everyone!