If you find yourself spinning out on Zwift with hard efforts or sprints there is a way to increase the resistance on your KICKR so you don’t get spun out. Which is especially easy if you are on CX/Gravel Gearing. There is an option to straight increase the resistance but I have never gotten it to work. This is my workaround:
Open up the Wahoo App on your phone.
2. Have your phone pair to your KICKR and hit START WORKOUT.
3. Swipe right about 5 times till you see KICKR Level page.
4. Select “sim” page.
5. On “Wind Speed (mph)” Go up to whatever you need to get enough resistance. On I 46t I need about 13mph.
And that’s how I do it. When you jump the resistance is there but kind gives a little so it isn’t perfect but works well enough for me. Wish the “KICKR Level” page worked, but for me it does nothing.
I live in a town so small it doesn’t really exist anymore. A bunch of years ago the town lost its Post Office and we basically got absorbed into the neighboring town. So when I came down to New York City to race the Grand Fondo New York with my brother Derek I was out of my element.
We had a hotel near the Start/Finish of the race but registration was 135 blocks downtown. The day before the race I checked into the hotel and did my warm-up ride to registration. Highlights of the fact that I am not from the city include being the only cyclist that stops at a bike path red light and getting my bike stuck in a revolving door at the Penn Hotel.
Staging the next day didn’t go much smoother for us. Derek and I were a bit slow to get out the door and we hit the on ramp of the George Washington Bridge at about 6am. We were greeted by a sea of green. If you don’t know, a requirement of the event is that you have to wear the GFNY jersey. They use it as a way to easily identify who is in the event and based on the scale and the location, I am not sure how you could do it otherwise.
We walked up the on ramp 10-15 people wide as far ahead and behind as you could see. By the time we got through security on the bridge, they shut down the lower level of the GWB for the race start, it was 10 minutes to the start and the competitive racer/VIP corral was closed off. Best Derek and I could do was about 3000th of 5000 riders. From the time the gun sounded till the time we made it to the start line we were 2:26 back. Derek looked at me and said “We will never see the front”.
The night before Derek asked me if I wanted to just ride with him or try and do well. He strongly suggested if I couldn’t do really well, I should just ride with him. So when I stared down the GWB bridge and saw literally thousands of cyclists in front of me and though of the 2.5 minute head start the front of the pack had, I pretty much assumed my race was done and I had leisurely day of riding ahead.
Derek and I at the start, on the left side of photo
The front pack not going slow
Thankfully, Derek was just enough annoyed at missing the start that he was willing for us to try and weave our way to the front. And so we started our Death Star bombing run in a trench of green riders. What gave us some hope was that I spotted the most worldly cyclist in the pro peloton, Dan Craven, with some Israeli Cycling Academy guy in tow. He was about 100 guys up the road. That gave me hope that if I could get on the Dan train I might see the front again.
I upped my efforts and hit all the climbs hard and tried not to crash dive bombing any gap in the wall of cyclists I could find. I lost Derek, but I also didn’t get on the Dan train. He was crushing and I was still getting stuck sprinting and braking behind cyclists with unknown lines of progression. We hit the first KOM and I rode it on the limit, after being almost on the limit the last 20 or so minutes. Over the top, the course turns right onto a huge road that rolls downhill.
After the climb the packs were splintered and all of them were going backwards except one about 500m down the road which was booking it with a certain Dan Craven and others driving it. I realized that was probably the “last chance pack” at a front row seat of the race and I went full “eat my stem” mode to bridge up. Unfortunately, they were doing the same thing and every pack I passed was going backwards faster than I was going forwards. But I could tell I was making up ground on them and after several minutes I bridged up to them as they bridged up to another larger pack. Also known as the lead pack. I made it to the front after 30 minutes of hard chasing.
There was a small break up the road, and the pack was rolling at a good speed so I played tail gunner and tried to eat and drink since I had another 4 hours of racing to go. The next major thing would be Bear Mountain at about 45 miles. This is a 17’ish minute climb at 5% and that would be the start of the race for real, except for me who already raced the first 15 miles. Following the climb it would get very lumpy and a break would go and/or the field would shatter so I did my best to gather for the storm. But I also knew that even if I got blown out on the climb, the fact that I was the last man to make the group was satisfying. I also knew it would earn me some serious DBH points.
Unlike my usual strategy of being in the wrong place in the pack before a climb I hit the Bear Mountain climb a few wheels back and was able to follow wheels, go with attacks and keep myself on the front. The only discouraging thing was every time I looked at my power meter my perceived exertion and watts were off by 50. We caught most of the breakaway up the climb and two punchy climber guys kept ripping my legs off but I was able to steadily ride them back till 500M to go and I finally gave them enough of a leash I could pull them back on the descent. We went over the top with a top 10 Strava segment for the climb.
I regrouped with the lead 2 riders and the last guy from the breakaway was coming back quickly. Behind more riders were getting back on. By the time the group was 20-30 big I started to panic this was going to fully regroup and I would get stuck trying to cover things and guess rider strength. So instead I decided to race like an idiot and attack repeatedly.
I attacked and some people bridged, behind people started covering. We regrouped and I went again. And again. And again. On some steep climb with some tight turns away from the river I finally got a solo gap and going over the top Richardo Pichetta an Italian and former winner bridged up and punched it. There were a few others in chase and I got the sense he was not a guy anyone wanted to see up the road. Eventually the group started coming back together but now it was more like 10-15. So I attacked again, and again, and again each time getting covered or forcing the group to string out behind me and further shrinking it. After another KOM, Cheese Hill or something, and some hard and steady riding there was a lull and I went again but harder and more committed. I had a good gap and 4 guys bridged up.
In the group was Richardo, Michael Margarite a former winner, Luis Lemus the Israeli Pro Cycling guy (Olympian and multi-time Mexican national champion), and another guy that looked like he was going to die, also known as Jurgen Moreels. Lemus went to the front and annihilated us. Now I looked like Jurgen plus 50 pounds. Our group moved clear of who was left and we settled into a solid pace line. I looked back repeatedly but never saw anyone. The next group would end up being 5 minutes back at the finish.
Being in the front group we had a lead car with a race clock and multiple motos with cameras covering the race. The slogan for the race is “Be a pro for a day” and I have to say they delivered on that promise. As a 36 year old, 14 years past his prime bike shape, who lives in a small town, racing through New York City with an escort is something special. Click Like. Would do again.
As the clock ticked past 3:50 we got to the second to last climb. I had felt super bad at the start of our break, but started to feel better. But going up the climb I could tell I was running out of steam. The number of training rides I have had this year over 3:50 was 3. Oh, and I haven’t slept more than 3-5 hours at a time since May 3rd.
Lemus attacked hard and Margarite and Richardo went with him. I, to take a quote from Tom Dumoulin about Simon Yates “Didn’t think about going with him for a second”. And as fast as that, they were gone up the road with the fancy escort and Jurgen and I were left to chase, still looking like we both wanted to die.
Cresting the hill there was 8 miles of racing left and we worked together to limit our losses but in the end finished a little under 2 minutes down on Margarite, GFNY’s first male double winner. I finished in 4th after Jurgen asked me how old I was and he found out I was not in his age group. That was the only moment in the race I felt like I was in a Fondo in the Americanized sense of the word.
Last hill before finish with Jurgen
Crossing the line in 4th
With the “road racing is dead” sentiment so many people have this race, yes race, defies that proclamation. Although the race has a participant component the front end is racing hard and it is good racing. Although I still love traditional road racing I don’t see any reason not to have events like this part of mainstream cycling, honestly, it is mainstream cycling.
Oh and power meter. The seal busted and filled with water. So after registering low then ridiculously high it crapped out. So no data, but I think it still counts right?
Sucker Brook Cross is a classic New England cross race. Big fields, lots of great riders, lots of categories, and a distinct course. Minus the 90 degree Garmin temp reading it is what makes this sport so cool. The course starts with a small paved ramp to a section of 600 turns that vary from light to 180’s. The surfaces are a mix of flat and off-camber and due to our weather everything was dry and loose. There is a set of stair run ups and a set of barriers thrown in as well. Following all that half lap of fun there is downhill fire road section into some wood single track stuff and a log step up. The lap caps off with a sand pit that has some turns on the entrance and a 180 halfway through. From there it is just a couple turns and a straight to the finish. Start order is set by Crossresults.com rankings. 8 riders a row. Crossresults has a formula that basically gives you points for the races you do based on field quality and size. Lower the points the better. There are likely ways to game it, but in the end, if you race enough you will have something close to your value. Where you get hosed is if you don’t have many races or your best results are in small races without any heavy hitters, or if you only see heavy hitters and can’t place at all. I started in the second row.
The race had several heavy hitters. Adam Myerson, Alec Donahue, Dlyan Mcnicholas, Andy Scott, and a half dozen JAM Fund riders that can all drive their bikes better than I can in my dreams. From the gun I mess up. I get myself stuck on the wrong side of a wheel and can’t clip in. I also can’t sprint. So by the time we hit turn one I am at least 20 guys back. Its all fast and turny for the next half lap and really no place a diesel like me can make up spots, actually the whole course doesn’t work to my skill set. One might even say cross doesn’t work toward my skill set. Thankfully, sorta, Adam Myerson gets pinned at the start and has to make up spots too. He comes into the first 180 and just dive bombs like 10 guys. After the race he said more or less “I felt bad doing it but I was mad from the start and I just see people as pylons”. I thought it was great, I wish I had done it. In fact, I did that earlier in the week at Catamount CX training series when starting at the back to practice passing. When I did it, a dude didn’t give way and drove his bike into mine. We both crashed, I sprained my thumb and he bitched me out. But Adam is Adam F’ing Myerson and wears the Stars and Stripes. He has earned that. Anyway, I want to use him as my blocker and go to jump on his wheel. I am not the only one with the idea and I am now fighting for wheels 20 dudes back as the race is going up the road. Awesome.
Over the course of the next 2 laps I work on staying as close to Adam as I can and we pick our way through the field. Adam, of course, is doing a better job, but I am hanging in there. I was trying to kill a funk of moving up a few spots then losing one in the sand pit or any of the dismounts. By the start of the 3rd lap a group of 3 guys, Dylan, Andy, and Greg a super junior, had a small gap with Adam chasing and me finally at the front of the field ready to bridge up. I was waiting out the turny section and as soon as it opened up I was going to bridge. Before that was an off-camber turn that was tricky and I just biffed it. On the ground, sprawled out and tangled in my bike. 5 guys blow past me. The race is gone in front of me. That’s why cross is great. I had a hunch that would be a hard corner in the race. I didn’t nail it down before the start. Racing is hard anyway so even if I did when you are on the rivet mistakes are easy. The guys in front of me, they nailed it.
I remount and work to get back on. I catch, but now I am over hot, tired, pissed, and in a group that just saw me crash and wants nothing to do with my wheel. By the end of the lap, 3 in and 3 to go, we are 8 strong having caught Adam. I punch through the group on the pavement and start to chase. Ahead Andy is several features ahead. Dylan has come off and Super Junior Greg has a mechanical. Might be heat, but I think Andy was just crushing it. I take the lead hoping to reverse the gap but now I am getting tired, and hot, did I say hot, it was 90. I am not smooth cornering anymore* but at least everyone else behind me has to deal with it. We hit the sand and I suck it up. Also the log step up I dismount. JAM guys are hoping and killing the remount into single track. So for every bit I make up I lose somewhere else. Thankfully I am still able to shrink the group and by the last lap it is me and Trent Blackburn with Alec just off. Trent has been killing me anywhere it is hard, especially the sand and the little chicane after it. Going to the last lap I am actually gaped off a few seconds from that section. I spend the next half lap bridging gaps I open to him but staying on his wheel overall. Going into the second half I take the lead. The plan is to come out of the sand in front. If I do that the following chicane won’t mater and I can hope I have a jump left.
I never really figured the sand out. I tried riding to the first turn but got bogged down. Tried dismounting halfway in but had a crap dismount. Tried to remount early to ride out, got bogged down. Not once clean. For last lap I was going to hit the sand from a sprint and just jump off and run. It sorta worked but I was an inch from falling on my face. But the only thing faster than running is trying not to trip. Coming out of the 180 I feel Trent going for the pass. I sprint as best I can, running, and we remount side by side. We have a 120 turn out of it and I knew I had to beat him to it. We are shoulder to shoulder, bumping and driving, but he gets over the top of me and setup early for the chicane. I am off center and not good at that feature anyway. He gaps me. On the pavement before the last turn I jump up to him. We hit the turn and my sprint is gone. I roll in for 3rd. He was clearly the better rider and it really showed on the last lap. Kudos to him. Andy probably forgot anyone started in the race behind him.
Top of the Log section with 1.5 laps to go.
Overall I learned a ton. First time actually getting to fight for a place in a New England race. I can’t wait for the rest of the season.
My “return” to bike racing can be squarely blamed on The Overland. Last year I had such a great time I decided to just focus on biking again. Admittedly, I won’t pick a discipline, but if there was a more complete scene with races like The Overland, it would be that. I am not ready to be a full time “fundo” guy, I still like racing, but I like racing with people, not against them. Overland is this.
This year however, The Overland made a major change to how they do results. They decided to do a top 3 and then have a clock at the finish for the rest. The goal was to make it so people could feel like they could enjoy the ride and not need to race if they didn’t want to. It made the top 3 spots more valuable but also took away from the hard work and talent that the next 100 finishers would be putting in. I wouldn’t say I am a fan of the change, I actually wish there were more races like how it was and the Rasputitsa. I feel like you can have both a mass start ride for the journey and a race for a place without picking one or the other. But I admit I am biased because I care about results, maybe I shouldn’t as a 35 y/o dude with a family and a job, but it is my passion and I am ultimately in charge in what is important to me. Moral of the story I was hyper motivated for a top 3 because this event maters to me.
The opening climb at Overland
The Overland starts on a long dirt road climb after a brief neutral. It descends a bit with some rollers then there is a sustained dirt road climb that funnels into the first Class 4 road sector which is basically a rutted out dirt wall. Last year it went hard from the start and the first sector caused the major split. Some but very little regrouping happened after that. Last year, I suffered to make it over the section and barely caught on after getting gaped, hardest I went all year last year was on that climb. This year I wanted to hit it at the front. No bridging up for me, I hoped.
On the first dirt road climb I rode up to the front and sat shoulder to shoulder with Mike Barton. We went up the first pitch together, riding steadily keeping the cadence high, Mike just ground out some obnoxious gear. On the flat between pitches a teammate of Mike’s, super strongman Will Letendre attacked. He got a gap and a few young guns made some bridge attempts Mike covered. The next pitch started and everything was neutralized by the difficulty with Will maintaining a gap. We were riding steady but not ballistic. Group was not 750 anymore, but the pack was sizable. Following the climb there were some loose gravel turns, some rollers, a short section of pavement, and finally a narrow gravel descent with half the road rutted out with 12″+ gashes in it. I knew this was coming up and yelled to those around me to stay left. But all anyone did was use the right to pass me. Thankfully no one crashed, but in the race behind someone would and my wife Elizabeth would put her ER skills to work to stabilize a C-spine till it was cleared of trauma and perform a concussion screen on a guy that took one of those sections too hot.
After all that the race starts in earnest with a sustained steep gravel climb into the dirt wall and the first pave sector, the one that holds the record for “hardest i went in 2016”. I had gotten gaped after playing it safe on the descent and had to bridge up on the bottom of the climb a little. I then went right to the front and rode hard and steady leaving some gears in the tank to jump if I needed to fight for hole shot. Will Letendre still had a gap on us but it was shrinking. Coming into the wall I kept my spot as first in the group. I upped the tempo to catch Will, jump around him and keep the pressure on. Over the top I still felt fresh and we had a group of 7 and a decent gap. A solid 7 minute effort at 435watts.
The split at the top of the first Pave
The group was Tim Johnson, Mike Barton, Gaelen Kilburn, Ansel Dickey, Will Letendre, Chad Butts and myself. We worked together right away forming a dirt road pace line which is always fun because of pot holes and loose rocks. On one particularly loose descent Tim put the pressure on hoping to force mistakes. In the end it caused Ansel to flat which was a huge game changer. The two time champ and favorite to win was now out of the group.
The next major section was another long class 4 road with some tough rollers and mud at which starts at the top of another hard dirt road climb. Right before that we got word there was a group of 20-30 that were chasing 20-30 seconds back. I couldn’t believe that there would be A) a group that big or B) they would be so close to us. We were rolling well together. It’s a testament to how strong to field at Overland was. There were some powerhouses that missed the first split and now had race favorite Ansel Dickey in it.
Going into the climb before the Class 4 Tim Johnson lit it up and kept it rolling through the Class 4. Riding everything perfectly smooth. Gaelen, on a franken mountain bike followed easily. Mike and I slipped and dabbed and generally sucked behind them but had enough power to stay close. The road kicks you out onto the pavement which is actually the KOM climb in road race at the Killington Stage Race. By the end of all that we were a group of 4. All 4 of us, Mike, Tim, Gaelen, and myself worked together nicely to keep our gap.
Mike and I chasing back on after messing up a technical section
Last year, Brenden Rhim attacked on the rollers after this and Ansel and I jumped and chased hard to catch him just in time to hit the Perry Road climb. That is what cracked me last year. This year, I knew it was coming! I also knew the fastest and most technical descent in the race was a class 4 section after the climb. Last year Tim Johnson jumped there and I basically closed my eyes and blindly followed his wheel. That was that fastest I had ever gone down something like that and I have been having nightmares about it for the past year. This year, I was going to start in front of Tim!
I put my year of anxiety to rest and started the descent first and then used my Cycle-Smart cross camp skills to use to set the Strava KOM on the segment. No big deal.
Working together to increase our gap
After this I knew we had some hard dirt road climbs, a super hard class 4 climb then a bunch of stuff I don’t remember and a final climb with a ski hill descent to the finish. At this point my legs didn’t feel amazing anymore. They were tired and no one seemed to be riding that much better than anyone else. Galen was riding smooth, Tim was a total animal, and Mike was surprisingly reserved. I actually went back to Tim and was like “whats up with Mike? He is only pulling like 1 person and not 3 or 4”.
Last year on the famed Oude Kwaremont I had to run because I ran out of gear. Gaelen rode it as did Ansel, but I heard Brenden ran it faster than Ansel rode it (I had been dropped an didn’t see). So this year I pretty much just planned to run it. I also wanted to hit the section first. But the climb up to the climb is also brutal. Tim attacked several times there and I was put on my limit but the legs didn’t crack and I was able to start first on the good line. As soon as the bare rock kicked up I dismounted and shouldered the bike and took off running. Gaelen passed and started to gap me. I assumed Mike and Tim were running behind and/or blocked by me. Only one of those things were true. I was the only jackass running. I was also not faster than Galen. I call for sucks on “Brenden ran it faster than Ansel rode it”.
But it actually felt good to not mash a gear on a climb and run so I used the extra energy to bridge back up to Gaelen. Mike and Tim right behind me. Bunch of rollers followed and there were only 2 things of note. 1. On a class 4 decent I was leading on I picked a high line rut that dropped faster than I thought it would but it also had a tree down across the line about the height of my handle bars. I did some uncharacteristic gymnastic work and hurdled it with my leg, foot over my head, one hand on the bars and managed not to crash, but I did drop my chain. I didn’t panic and I caught back on. BUT, at the Rasputitsa feed zone they had waffles and I missed it. That sucked.
By this time we stopped getting splits and it was clear we had a decent gap on the rest of the race. We basically road together taking turns making each other suffer knowing it would be a “see who still has it on the last climb” sorta finish. When we hit said climb, Mike jumped hard. It was crazy. Gaelen went off in pursuit and Tim and I went into survival mode. Tim would ride almost up to me, I would ride almost up to Gaelen and he would ride almost up to Mike. Almost. Remember the whole “only top 3 get a result”? Well that suddenly was a big deal as one of us was going to be left empty handed after a day long group effort. Last year I got Tim, but at Rasputitsa he blew me up at the finish. I said to myself “Tim is retired, he doesn’t need to do this to himself.” If I divided the number of national championships he has by the number I have, I wouldn’t get a real number. Can’t do that math. I am not getting fourth. So, over the top we all had about a 5sec gap on each other. The descent is down a ski hill with very angry water bars and is all too terrifying at race speed and thus positions didn’t change. Last year I could only manage 330 watts on the final climb. This year I was at 415. Not overly amazing, but considering the day I was happy. The best I could do and Mike and Gaelen were just straight up stronger and Tim is retired, for like years. 4th was 7 minutes back.
It was an epic day with some epic power (357 NP for 2.5 hours) with epic memories shared with my wife, son, and parents. Vermont Overland is amazing.
I grew up going to Killington Stage each fall once my brother started racing bikes in college. His first year at KSR was probably 1989. I was 7. Throughout the years I saw him race on the local club of Putney West Hill all the way up to Mecury-Viatel which is basically the equivalent of BMC now. By the time I started racing KSR had ended and GMSR started. I actually raced GMSR its first year which was my first year racing. Anyway, my cycling “career” came and went before KSR was a thing again. Now that I am a “Masters” racer I decided to give it a go this year in the Pro/1/2 because the only Masters division is 50+.
It is earlier in the year and has different stages but the overall feel of a New England high end stage race was there. But instead of staying in a hotel on site close to the racing allowing for maximum recovery with minimal responsibilities I spent my mornings getting Sam ready for daycare, driving 2 hours to the race, racing, packing up pronto and driving 2 hours home to get Sam, take care of him for the night and then getting him to bed. After all that I got 15 minutes of “recovering” before bed.
Saturday was a 76 mile circuit race with a small hill and it was fast. Race was over in 2:50 for a 26mph average. Nothing was able to stick and everything was basically covered within a mile. I sat tight in the back before sneaking up the side on the last KOM and tried to see if something would go. After 8 minutes at an average of 435 watts with several minutes of 500 watt drives all that happened was we got strung out. I slinked back to the back of the packed and rolled in safely after a field sprint. I never fully committed to a move and I regret that now.
Sunday had 4 significant climbs. One at the start, two in the middle and a finish climb. I had a feeling a break could go on the false flat of the second climb but I decided to hang low and conserve. Turned out the winning move happened right where I thought it could go. I realized this too late and tried to bridge over the top of the 3rd climb. All I did though was spend 20 minutes riding solo even with the break 4 minutes up the road burning matches I didn’t have. A group of the best guys that missed the move came up on me 10 miles before the final climb and I suffered to pull through with them, missing more pulls than I would like to admit. I did have a guy in the group say “dude, SPD’s” to which I said “yeah, it is a cross bike” and got a look of confusion till he saw the disc brakes and the wide tires and said “don’t pull on the downhills.” When we got to the final climb I was cracked and I suffered up the last climb losing time with every pedal stroke. In the end I pulled the pin on the rollers to the finish and lost almost 4 minutes on the best guys from my group I started the climb with and lost 7 minutes on the guy that won from the break. Thankfully only a handful of guys from the pack caught me. I was 27th on the day out of about a 100. So really not too bad.
Monday was a 10.6 mile TT which goes slightly uphill. I know from training and the PP TT what I probably could do fresh, but not knowing what I could do tired. Overall I thought if I had a perfect day and I was fresh I could get a top 10. TT’s are boring to report about so basically I wasn’t fresh but did better than I thought I could and ended up 5th.
Overall I moved up to 21st and I now look back at my sitting up at the end of Stage 2 and wish I hadn’t. It was for a minor placing but racing is racing and you don’t get a medal for quitting. There is no shame in racing to the line even if it isn’t for the win. Hopefully I remember that this weekend for WF 100k and the Hill Climb.
I really had a fantastic day today. I can’t thank my wife enough for her support. She has let me chase something I wasn’t ever ready to let go.
As a bit of history, although I had never done WF 100K before 2015, I had looked to it as an ultra cool event that went over some of my favorite roads. I always regretted not racing it when I was in shape. As many of you know I stopped racing due to some health issues in 2010 after already quitting bike racing in 2007. After many years of sloth, banjos, and mustaches I had Sam with my wife in 2014. Quickly I realized he would never know me as an athlete. I wanted to change that and WF 100K and qualifying for Leadville was my goal. It got me running, biking, swimming, and racing. In 2015 I raced and qualified after finished 10th some 15 minutes down. It was pretty emotional for me to do that. In 2016 I finished 4th and went on and did Leadville to earn a belt buckle. After that, I raised the bar some more to see if I could win the thing. See if I could really get back to some sort of elite level and prove to myself the rider I was in 2004 was still somewhere still inside me.
Returning to the race this year was Mathieu B-B who won the last 2 editions of the race. In actuality, he has won it every year I have raced. So I knew from the start the pressure was on him. I knew he would be the one to chase, control, and go when he needed to. If I watched him I was safe. On the opening decent to Bartlett road there were the usual swarms and near crashes of 380 MTB’s riding in a pack produces. I kept a buffer and knew I could jump up the outside when I needed to. Going over Bartlett the race usually breaks up a bit as people test their legs. I stayed a few wheels back from Mathieu and tried to be invisible. We regrouped on the rollers to Styles brook and a little group rolled off before the climb. Somewhere in there a guy in a Placid Planet store jersey chopped me and almost crashed me. So there was that. On Styles Brook the break came back immediately and pro Dereck Treadwell and Mathieu rode a steady pace which caused the group to fracture again and you could quickly see where people’s fitness was. Anyone riding cross-eyed up the climb there wasn’t going to be a problem later on.
There was more regrouping on the flat to Jay Mountain and again Dereck and Mathieu rode a steady tempo up the climb. The final pitch of the climb is pretty steep and loose. I went up the outside and road my own pace. At the top it was just Mathieu and myself. No longer invisible, but I learned if I went up the road, Mathieu was not going to get any help. No one else was going to be strong enough. I descended down Jay Mountain behind Mathieu with some amazing single speed guy that caught on over the top. That guy was baller. At the bottom of the initial Jay descent Mathieu pulled over to nature break. I don’t know what he was thinking. I had another guy on my wheel and we were a bit behind the SS guy going into the next descent so we kept rolling. When we got to Blood Hill I looked back and people were in 1’s and 2’s spread out. I knew Mathieu was probably trying to catch back on. So I hit Blood Hill pretty steady rode away from the coalescing group. I have actually “attacked” here every year I have done the race. I like getting a head start on the Blueberry trails.
I settled into tempo till the trails and rode the trails steady and smooth. Looking over my shoulder on every straightaway. Coming out of the trails I still had a gap and I got 2 high speed feeds. I pulled out a PB and J and munched on that while I decided what to do. I decided to ride steady to the top of Jay Mountain which was going to be about 40 minutes of steady climbing. I figured when Mathieu caught me he would have had to burn some matches and I would have stayed at a sustainable pace. I again looked back often and found no one. I crested Jay Mountain feeling good and concentrated on food, water and staying “aero”. I bombed the descent and narrowly missed my next feed as Sam Liz arrived just in time from E-town at the Upper Jay feed. Still no one in sight. I knew from there I had about an hour left and I had already been solo for an hour and a half. I felt pretty good still so I focused on riding the flats at 300-340 watts and the kickers of the climbs at 400-440. Going over Bartlett road I got my first time split of 2.5 minutes. I had lost more than that in the last 30 minutes of the race last year to Mathieu. So it was a good gap to have but could easily be lost in the end. I stayed after it, hitting my wattages and made my way up to and through the Hardy Trails nice and smoothly, leaving some in the tank for a final push. Coming out of the trails I got a time split of 3.5 minutes. It was then I realized I could do it.
I opened the throttle and emptied what I had left. I rode everything cleanly on the finishing loop for the first time and crossed the line holding my bike above my head. 5:26 ahead of Mathieu. 4 hours and 4 minutes was my final time with a normalized power of 340 watts. Really good day.
Tomorrow I do the hill climb. There is a prize to the lowest combined time of the WF100K and Hill Climb. Mathieu is doing it. So we will do battle again on the mountain. Plus a bunch of fresh guys.