The Charlotte Novant Health Criterium is the bike racing equivalent of the game shows where people go into a plastic box and grab as much money as they can while it blows around. They put $40,000 out with half in mid-race prime sprints. That means that basically every other lap is a sprint. Add to that 8 narrow corners with 2 wide open straights and you have a course that is throttle on the whole time. I was sick, so it was tough for me to do much. The interesting part of the race was that Holloway made a small break stick for close to 20 laps. He was able to take a number of primes. Finally, as the break lost momentum, he had no choice but to go solo. There’s a pretty cool picture of it. In any case, he was solo for the last five laps. United Healthcare had to put their whole team on the front to bring him back and were only to do it in the last half of the last lap. Nail biter. It was pretty cool because there are relatively few times that UHC show any weakness. Dan nearly took them singlehanded.
The Sunday counterpart to Charlotte, Belmont was all the same teams, but the course had a significant uphill that lasted about a minute between 5-600 watts. I made the mistake of trying to move up in the final corner. I came around the outside of a CRCA guy who got pushed out by the guy in front of him. I was the one who ended up in the barrier. I took a free lap, but the official insisted on waiting for the field to go by, so I chased but didn’t catch. Then I got pulled.
Again, Dan positioned well by sitting in the UHC train and came around for second. That’s pretty huge considering that he had to come around Hilton Clarke, whose job is to sit up and gap the field off their train. He also came around Karl Menzies (third place) whose nickname is “Ten Menzies.” Apparently, Menzies is the backbone of the leadout for being able to sit at 6-700 watts for an inordinate amount of time. Rumor has it that his 6-7 minute computrainer time at the Athens qualifier is 500+ watts. Crazy. Congrats Dan!