Where to begin.. so, the last week has flow by with 2 ridiculously hard races and some incredible riding in between. I left home Saturday May 24th for Chattanooga, TN for the Professional Road Race National Championship. Although it is my second year as a pro it is my first time going to nationals. Last year I decided to stop myself on a descent 50 mph with my knee a few weeks before. Needless to say I wasn't ready to race. This year however, I was ready.
We had 8 guys ready to start this years road race: Max Jenkins, Peter Olejniczak, Monk Freehery, Hogan Sills, Jake Sitler, Jake Silverberg, Stephen Hyde, and myself. We had a pretty straight forward plan but to sum it up we wanted to have someone in the breakaway and if we didn't get someone in the breakaway we needed to get someone into it quickly. The race has 4 loops in downtown Chattanooga followed by some longer loops with a 4 km climb averaging 8% grade. The race then finished with 3 more small loops back in downtown.
The race started full gas from the start. Our guys were trying to get into a break and some of us covered some moves early on but, of course as luck or chance would have it even with 8 guys we missed the early break of 15 or so. Not awesome. So we tried to launch a couple guys up to close the gap and no one made it. Stephen gave it a couple of solid efforts. Max got a few of us to the front to do some work to keep the break close. Hogan was a work horse up there with help from some of the others. At the same time Jake Sitler got a flat. (Jake is a great climber so we really wanted him there cause he had the potential to really make it to the finish strong). Monk gave up a wheel to be quick and also gave up his race at the speed we were going. I waited to pace Jake back to the field. At this point Hogan and Silverberg were still riding the front heading to the climb. Max set a hard tempo up the climb and at that time a couple guys got dropped from the break which gave some other teams some of the responsibility to chase. At this point we were down to 4 but still in a good way. That changed quickly with some bad luck; Stephens Front Mec wasn't working so he stopped to fix it and had to chase, which burned a lot of matches to make it back and Sitler drank something bad and his race was over with violent barfing. It was down to Max and I up the climb for the third time. Max made it easily up the climb. I was about 10 seconds behind the group but i never made it back. I have tons of excuses for why I didn't: allergies, asthma, or maybe just the long climb got in my head. Anyway, I was bummed since I know I can do better. Max had the ride of the day finishing 17th after crashing in the rain that started in the last hour of the race. It was not our best race for a lot of different reasons but that just makes us more willing to put in the work for the next few races in the coming weeks.
Watch full race here.
After the race we spent the next few days in Knoxville, Clay Murfet's home town here in the states. I didn't really know what to expect from the place but its an awesome place for riding a bike. Great winding narrow roads with very little traffic are all over the place making it a great place to unwind after a hard race. Come ride there it's awesome.