By Will Nabours – Development Racer
It was a cool winter afternoon in Colorado. A band of heavy wall clouds sat on the mountains to the west of the thawing Carter Lake. My cheeks tingled from the bite of chamois cream as I hucked a banana peel into the dry grass. Yes, it was road racing season once again, and this time February hadn’t even passed.
The Carter Lake road race, for me, went just how I wanted it to. I started the day doing a warm-up ride with a couple of the veteran racers, Taylor Jung and my brother, Tyler. We talked race strategy, which included being patient and preparing for a long run into the finish. I was nervous, knowing that I needed early season upgrade points. Seeing a few pro mountain bikers line up calmed my nerves – I knew I could count on them to break up the group.
The race started out pretty slow, as I think everyone was nervous for the climbs. Small attacks came from the occasional rider, but nothing proved worth chasing. I tried to gauge the course as we passed through laps 1 and 2. My teammates were right, there was a long run into the sprint and going too early would be costly.
The last lap started and the pace picked up. The mtb’ers led a series of attacks on the southern climb, but I was able to follow. This split the field, leaving a group of about 10 of us echeloning across the dam. We worked together until we hit the long slog up the eastern side of the lake, and then more attacks came. Eventually, it whittled the group down to 6 riders cresting the top of the climb. I was sitting fourth wheel and no one was pulling through – this was going to be the positioning coming into the sprint. I knew I could win.
Just as my teammates advised, I stayed patient and watched the riders in front of me start their sprints too early. The finish line looked a lot closer than it actually was. I stuck the wheel of the rider in front of me and edged him out on the line by a wheel length. And then I chugged a Core Power protein shake.
Equipment : Coaching from Threshold Endurance, a Pedal supplied Cannondale CAAD10 w/ Ultegra 11-speed, Continental GP 4000’s (lime green for show), Pactimo race jersey, beet juice, euro-mullet, Core Power protein shake, pan y agua.