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Treasure Coast Cycling Classic Race Weekend – Stuart, FL

Day 1: Pro,1,2 Circuit Race – 80min, 2.2mi Loop

Before I start off with any of the actual race details, let me just say that this was by far the hottest weather that I have ever ridden in, around 102 degrees. Making things worse, neither me or my dad brought sunscreen, so I’m totally cooked.

Now for the race. I was able to get a nice 35min warm-up around the race site while making sure to keep hydrated in the heat. Pulling up to the line, I have to admit that I was pretty nervous. I was able to start up at the front of a field containing about 40-50 riders on the line. I got a few last leg stretches in, choked down a Gu gel, took a couple of SportsLegs capsules, and we were off.

The first lap was absolutely horrible. Heading into the first turn, I was pushed off the road and into the gutter, which unfortunately caused me to move pretty far back in the pace-line. For the next 60 minutes, it was a mix of suffering, heatstroke, and more suffering. Throughout the race, there were many break attempts, but none that stayed away until two that went off in the final 20min. At this point I was in no position to hop on the attack or bridge up to either break, so I just had to hope for the best. At 3 laps to go, the breaks were still off the front by around 1min, and it was clear that the main field wasn’t willing to bring them back.

With time running out, I had to try to pull something off, and do it pretty quick. At the end of 3 laps to go, 2 guys attacked the field and I hopped on the back of them. We made a little gap on the field, but it seemed as soon as the attack started, both guys decided they didn’t want to work. Once they both started to slow down, I attacked them and quickly made a nice size gap. Now going into the last lap, I had a nice gap and could only pray that if I buried myself I could hold the field off. The next 10min were painful. I’d look back every so often and the main field would always be a tad bit closer, but I was just hoping that it wasn’t enough to bridge up to me by the end of the race.

Going into the last lap, I could start to see the second break in front of me, so it helped to motivate me that little bit that I needed. I honestly thought my lungs and legs were ready to explode, but all I could do was put my head down and keep motoring. Now heading down the final stretch, the group was getting close behind, but I now knew that I had enough of a gap to stay away. Crossing the line alone (and dead), the group was now coming on me FAST for their final sprint, but I could relax knowing that I had made it. Overall, I ended up finishing 10th place, which I was very happy with! Now to get ready and recover for tomorrow’s criterium in downtown Stuart.

Day 2: Pro,1,2 Criterium – 80min, 9/10mi Loop

To no suprise, it was another scorcher today, but nothing compared to yesterday. I was smart enough to remember to bring sunscreen lotion today!

Before the race, I got a nice 45min warm-up, but I could definitely feel the effects of yesterdays race in my legs. Regardless, I was ready and excited to race!

From the start, people were already attacking into the first turn which was a sketchy near 180 degree turn. With around 60+ Pro,1,2 guys screaming into that turn, it made things pretty interesting. Much like yesterday, break attempts were pretty constant, but none could seem to stick. One thing I was fortunate for was the several people around the loop throwing cold water on us.

After one fairly large break went up the road towards the middle if the race, I made a move and attacked along the outside on one of the straightaways. I caught up to 3 guys a little bit up the road, but none of them were willing to work and I was too dead at that point to pull myself up to the lead group. We were forced to slow down and wait for the main field, but the break got caught shortly after anyways.

The downfall of the race came towards the end where the field split in half and I was caught sleeping in the back. After several laps of painfully watching the front half of the field race away, I took my chances and, like yesterday, ended up soloing in between the 2 groups for several laps. I was lucky to avoid the sprint behind and ended up finishing in 23rd place. Overall, I’m not too disappointed after yesterdays effort and looking forward to the next race!

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