Winston Salem was a brutal race. it was one I had marked on the calendar hoping to do well. Coming off a rough start to the season, I had modified my goal to just do the races and see how I felt.
The weekend has two races, the Winston Salem North Carolina UCI road race and the NCC crit. They are relatively new to the calendar. At 120 miles, the 7 mile circuit road race is one of the longest and highest ranked one day races in the country. It has a good payout and the course is not only a blast to ride but is well organized to boot. The highlights of the course are a climb that hits 14% and lasts about a minute and a 50+ mph descent. Pro men rode those 15 times each as our race was 15 laps. I made it until four to go I lost contact from poor positioning on the climb. I had managed to get bottles to all of my teammates before I was pulled after chasing for a lap. Anthony made the finishing group where not many guys made it. Up and coming pro Travis McCabe attacked the climb on the last lap and dropped an elite breakaway group to win over some big time riders.
The crit was more my speed. It was 75 minutes plus 5 ish and 6 corners. There was a small rise that put a burn in the legs. I felt good enough to follow Adam Hegyvary (UHC) into a break. It looked like a good mix but was caught. I positioned myself well, avoided several big crashes and stayed near the front until I found myself elbowing back and forth with an Amore Vita rider and dropped enough spots at the wrong time that I had trouble getting back to the front. It’s a shame because Dan could have used the help staying out of the wind. He was second in the field behind one of the best sprinters around, Luke Keough. He was third overall because one of the three man break actually held it to the line. A Belgian, of course. I was 30th. Only 77 finished of 198. Tough race.
Athens twilight is tomorrow. Fitness is coming on!