by Buzz Wright
I was extremely happy to learn that for 2015 the TBC would replace the dumb TT with a crit. Crits are so much better and... wait, what's that you say? Oh... I see. Well, dangit! So I wasn't concerned with the GC and the TT was short enough that I didn't feel like putting the aerobars on the bike. I went out a little too hard but finished pretty strong and was sub-nine minutes which was my personal goal -- so I was happy even though I was not happy. I placed <embarrassingly high number> out of 52. Have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of TTs?
The goal for the RR was to work for Michael (sitting at 10th overall) to move him up a spot or two in the GC. About 5 minutes into the race after hitting an enormous pothole, which jarred a Di2 wire loose, the goal changed to trying to fix my front derailleur so I could shift out of the small ring. Trying to reconnect the wire in the shifter during a race ended up being too tough for me and I ended up riding the entire race in the 39. Di2 and I are not on speaking terms right now. I was spinning like crazy trying to hold wheels when the speed went up and needed to surf around in the group a lot in order to handle the speed changes.
I spent most of the time near the back of the pack which was unfortunate because I wasn't able to communicate well with Michael and at one point I got caught behind a crash (luckily I was able to avoid it and didn't go down). On the final lap I moved up to near the front and tried to get close to Michael. There were a couple surges that caused me to fall back some more because I was spinning out and I wasn't able to reach Michael until the final climb. I got to him and told him to follow my wheel and pushed as hard as I could to the finish. At 200m to go I pulled off and he was not there. I continued to the finish in the hopes of grabbing a top-10 finish and was able to hold on just enough to get 10th. That moved me up from <embarrassingly high number> to 17th overall. Michael moved up a spot on the GC which was awesome. It was a fun race but stressful due to the mechanical issue. I'll be switching back to mechanical shifting soon.
I felt pretty good for this race and was excited that I could actually shift into the big ring. We were hoping to move Michael up another spot or two in the GC or at least keep him top-10 and I would also try to get on the podium, something I've been close to a number of times but haven't been able to manage it yet. With the wifey watching from the sidelines I had extra motivation to make it happen. Kyle from TriSports was battling it out for 1st overall so it was a really exciting race to be a part of. An early break formed and stayed away for a lap or two but it was not really a threat and there was no doubt TriSports would reel it back in. Lap three had time bonuses so the pace went up and the climbing was pretty brutal on that lap.
A strategic break formed on the 5th lap and I jumped to bridge up to it. It was a strong break with Michael, Mike from Aggress, Ryan from TriSports, and a couple others. I didn't add much horsepower to the break but I did my best to put in some decent pulls. We were able to stay away for a little more than a lap and at one point had a solid 30-second gap -- but the race leader needed to get a time bonus at the end of the race in order to take back 1st from Kyle and he was strong enough to reel us in on his own. It was a bummer to get caught when I really felt we had a good chance of staying away, but I did my best to recover and prepare for the finish, still hoping to get on that podium.
I was sitting about 10 riders back when we hit the first little climb to the finish. A couple guys jumped in a sort of false-sprint and I stayed on wheels to maintain my position. I ended up being about 5 guys back when we hit the second climb and the pace quickened to about a seated-sprint. I was on the right sitting on a guys wheel when he stood and started his sprint. It was definitely too early but I stayed on his wheel. He started to fade fast and when he did I went by him and started my sprint. I knew it was too early but I could hear the crowd at the finish cheering and I just had to go for it. It was pretty cool to be in first heading up to the line, if only for a few seconds. I pushed as hard as I could but didn't have enough power and ended up getting passed by four guys. I was disappointed to have missed the podium yet again by just a couple wheels, but still very happy with 5th place.
Buzz getting 5th (photo by Evan Robold)
Michael moved up to 8th overall and I moved up another spot to 16th. The fellas in Cat 5 did amazing. It was a fantastic weekend for IC3 and a ton of fun racing and hanging out with all our friends.