USA Cycling Masters Nationals Championships
The end of May this year saw the team driving and flying into Winston-Salem North Carolina to compete in USA Cycling Masters National Championships. Jeremy and David would contest the Road Race, then all three (Todd flew in) would give it a go in the 10 corner technical (and fast) Criterium. Half of the fun of Nationals is getting a chance to hang out with your teammates and friends and enjoy all the hard work you've put in to get fit enough to compete at this level. Lots of times, this one included, the result comes down to things in your control and those not.
The road race was 74 miles with total climbing over the 4 lap circuit or around 4,000' - nothing to steep (max around 7 percent). This year saw the largest field size in a long time with 150 racers contesting the race on narrow NC country roads. We we end the race with an average speed of 26.7mph - pretty fast! The course and speed favored the field staying together, regardless of the numerous attempts by racers to break-away. This meant there would be a large group (most of the peloton) contesting the slight uphill finish. Coming into the final 1.5K we could sense it was going to be a challenging finish and the proof was about to reveal itself with 3 large crashes taking place right at the front as racers jockeyed for position in the sprint. Jeremy and David narrowly avoided these and finished unscathed just a few seconds outside the winner (4 second back). David finished 25th and Jeremy 34th out of a long list of contenders making it onto the first page out of 5 pages of results.
The Criterium was up next. USA Cycling made a last minute change in course location which would have us going from a 3 corner lap to a 10 corner narrow and technical course. We took a ride over to recon the course; it confirmed our concerns, this would be a challenge given the field size 130 on this type of course. Either way, we were ready to give this our best, that's why we were there!
Race day was bright, sunny and HOT (in the 90s)!!! We wanted to watch the race before ours to see if we could learn the course a bit. Unfortunately there were a number of accidents (7) forcing USA cycling to modify the course and delay the racing. When we lined up the heat was high and the waits were long (1 hour) leaving riders to dump any extra water on their heads in an attempt to stay cool. Finally the race was underway and we had a crash on the first lap right away. This would be the tempo of the race given the technical nature, speed and size of field. David and Todd would race at the front doing their best to maintain position among the best of the best in the country. The final laps would prove more challenging to race at the front for a good finish. in the end we were happy to come away from the race and the experience with all of our skin and big smiles! David finished the Crit in 21st just 3 seconds off the win, Todd in 34th.
Good times with some of our New England friends: