Today at Manor, the break-away Gods smiled down on CREDO Racing. I ended up coming away with 2nd place out of a 2 man breakaway that lasted the last 45 minutes of the race. We completed 5 laps of the 12 mile course in just under 2:28 and came in a full minute over the peloton. The attacks started rolling off the front shortly after the hill on the first lap, although with a fresh peloton, the breaks were chased back with mucho gusto. I opened my legs up following a break-away attempt on lap 2 but decided to very quickly sit up when I pulled off the front of the group every time I pulled through. The break wasn’t right. It wasn’t motivated enough and the timing wasn’t right. The feng shui of the group’s kits weren’t meshing. We returned to the peloton and sat in for another 2 laps, taking much care to stay in the wayward side of the peloton on the cross-wind sections.
On the 4th lap, I positioned myself top 10 coming into the hill. Somebody attacked the hill solo, and then the hill spoke to me. “It’s time.” That was all that was needed to be said. I went to the front and started drilling the pace. The top of the hill came, but I didn’t care. False flat and next hill came and went with the pace pegged; the peloton was showing the first inkling of being held together with a rubber band. People were hurting; the elastic would stretch and come back together. Then we made the right hand turn onto the unpaved section of road, and again, I heard the voice. Not so much a voice this time as a message written in the oil soaked dirt; “Hammer time.” I have no idea why a pop rap artist from the early 90’s was sending me messages during a race, but I got the point. I dropped the proverbial hammer and for the next 10 minutes I didn’t look back. I was seeing red. Somewhere in there, I heard a rubber band snap.
When I finally emerged from my rage, there were only 4 of us, so I figured it was about time to start working as a group if the break was going to survive. We did one rotation and the junior from 787 that had found a way into the break decided not to pull. After explaining the case of a socialist work structure being the model that tended to maximize results in a committed breakaway, all I got from him was a non-committal response. He then planted himself firmly on the last wheel of the break and continued to skip pulls. At that point, I was a little bit oxygen deprived, so I couldn’t think of anything cool to say. Christopher points out that it would have been bad-ass if I responded with “I’m sorry you feel that way.” I tend to agree with him. On my next pull, I forced my will on the group in the most direct way I could think of at the time: I rode faster. Four became two, and that was how it stayed for the remainder of the race, trading pulls with Matt Gossling of Team Party Time, although at that point my socialist mentality was thrown out the window. I was just happy to have somebody with me that was willing to bury himself. If I had to say, the work split was probably 70-30.
With 3k to go I started to let my compatriot take longer pulls…which also meant the pace dropped. I fell back and he thought I popped. He took the bait and started to pick up the pace a little bit, assuming he was going to go the rest of the way solo. At that point, I poured everything I had into my legs and tried to jump him. He caught my wheel and no matter what I tried: attacks, swerving like a mad-man, throwing bottles at him, he just held my wheel. In the end, at 1k to go, he pulled alongside me, gave me a fist bump and we rode side-by-side until 200m. It was a match sprint and my tank was empty.
In the end, CREDO Racing walks away with a well earned 2nd place.