Last week, I got this e-mail from Adrian: “Speedloop leadout for me i guarantee I’ll win the sprint.”
I’d been thinking about this over the last couple of weeks while our Cat 2’s were scratching at top-10 results in the P/1/2/3 race while landing a few 7th place finishes. If we were racing solo getting top-10’s, what would happen if we could put together a little bit of team-work coming into the finish? This was the week to try.
Seventy-five racers lined up at the start line on Thursday night; everybody looking to test legs for the upcoming Tour of Austin. The field was a little deeper than usual, Elbowz Racing and Super Squadra brought full squads and the obligatory pro or two showed up: this week it was Andrew Dahlheim of Bissell Pro Cycling and Chad Haga of Kelly Benefits Strategy. It is so cool to see pros come and mix it up at a weekly crit. CREDO Racing was represented by Andy, Colin, Brendan, Adrian and myself; a full squad.
The race started fast from the gun with Elbowz Racing and Super Squadra lining up to string the field out for the $50 second-lap Hot Lap prime. After that, the race fell into the usual attack/chase/counterattack pattern, with all of us taking our stabs at primes and breakaways, although nothing materialized from this; not for the lack of trying. With five laps to go, I found Brendan and Adrian in the pack and we started moving into position. The pace began to pick up and other teams started getting organized while Brant Speed and Heath Blackgrove made a last-ditch, and ultimately successful, go at a breakaway.
With two to go, Elbowz was at the front of the strung-out peloton, driving the pace. I made sure Adrian was on my wheel and then surfed the waves of the surging peloton to get into position. Before the race started, Adrian told me he wanted to be 5th wheel coming around the far bend on the last lap and we were dead-on; 5th and 6th wheel of the peloton at the turn. Elbowz continued their ramp-up and with 500 meters to go, Adrian started yelling at me to go. I grabbed a gear and bucked as hard as I could just before the Elbowz train kicked it into their final gear. I pulled clear and as I started to fade, Adrian launched his sprint, coming away with 3rd in a very, very close field sprint. Brendan was just behind him, taking 6th in the field. I got swarmed and finished mid-pack after blowing my legs wide open.
Our plan was executed to perfection. CREDO came away on the day with 5th and 8th in the P/1/2/3 race for our best finish so far this year. In the points and in the money. Plus, we came away with a little more confidence in each other.