Mahony & Sons put up a huge spread next to the very fast final corner 4 and the longer course allowed the riders enough time to move around and make the racing hard.
Mahony & Son's VIP Tent at Corner 4
From the gun, we rode aggressively. Mostly covering moves and waiting for the right time to launch the big break. Carlos finally achieved separation thirty minutes into the 75 minute event with breakaway companion Marsh Cooper (Kelly Benefit Strategies). The two worked well together and achieved a maximum lead of 35 seconds despite the course's long straightaways.
Marsh Cooper & Carlos Alzate crushing tarmac off the front
The unrepresented teams (Jelly Belly, HR Block, Garneau Evolutions Trek Red Truck) attacked very hard to bridge but Quinn, Remi, Conner, Kevin, Andres and I covered everything. There were some very frustrated bike racers out there.
Once it became apparent that bridging was not going to work, the local amateur team Red Truck Racing sent 5 riders to the front to pull back the breakaway and worked very well together, hats off to them! They brought the break back to only 20 seconds.
Trek Red Truck works on the front
At this time Andres launched off in a solo bridge attempt and effectively nailed the coffin in the rest of the peloton. After bringing back his attack, the moves off the front decreased and the break's advantage ballooned to +40 seconds. A very well timed move by Andres! At this point the remaining Exergy riders rode near the front and counted down the laps.
As the event neared its conclusion, I started to realize just how many people had come out to watch the race. Each lap the peloton stormed into the final corner, the crowd seemed closer and louder, inflating the tension among the riders as the race closed.
With 6 laps to go and Carlos safely out in front with Marsh, my Exergy teammates and I found one another. Moving up in full train formation, we took the front with 5 laps to go. One lap later the crowd prime bell rang: $800 for the breakaway and $450 for the peloton. Thank you to everyone in the crowd who helped out the riders tonight with your generous contribution to the excitement of the event. Fortunately I was able to sneak away from the peloton on the back straightaway and limit my energy use in claiming the peloton crowd prime. Carlos made sure he took the bigger one!
At this point only three laps remained. I jumped back into the front of the peloton, Quinn driving the pace. Before the end of the lap, my Exergy teammates had formed a perfect five man leadout train in front. But with two to go I was swarmed from both sides along the back straightaway and dropped to 9th wheel.
Coming out of the 3rd corner on the final lap, the last Exergy leadout man drove it hard. Andres pushed out to the right and I followed and went full gas as the train of riders hugged the left hand inside gutter. I moved over the 7 riders and took the front position as we approached the 150 metres leading into the final corner. There was to be no passing after the final corner. I had to get there first. But it was so far away. So far in fact that both Hollaway (who lead the left hand train) and I had to side down after the lengthy sprint (or drag from 3 to 4). We were track racing...sprinting in the saddle. But I had him. Then Ryan Anderson (Spidertech) slipped between the tiny space to my right; where did he come from? He came out of the gutter! In the process I lost sight of Hollaway and in the final 100 metres before the corner I dropped from 3rd on the road to 5th. Damn!
Through the final corner at +55kph...keep it smooth...survive....damn it 5th!
Looking back on it now...of course I think I could have mounted one final sprint into the corner. But I guess that's all part of the learning process that is my first year pro.
Nevertheless, Team Exergy completed its goals:
1) Win the race
2) Win the big prime sprints
Travel day tomorrow! Back to Boise, Idaho for final preparations before Saturday.