After having already placed 10th in the road race, I was surprised to find that I was still feeling pretty good and the Georgian heat and humidity didn’t crush me too much. I was super pumped for the crit. Our field was smallish with about 40 riders and there weren’t a lot of guys with teammates which can make for some pretty interesting racing.
We would soon find that out when the eventual winner took off on the 2nd lap and we all just looked at each other and said “There’s no way he going to stay out there by himself long.” We were so wrong! Our field still had some strong guys in it but instead of trying to work together to bring the solo rider back, they just attacked and were brought back then attacked again. So while the solo rider just rode hard and steady, the field was pretty erratic.
I took as many pulls as I could without jeopardizing my chances of getting as high as I could on the podium. With Bahati sitting in pretty much the entire race, I figured he would be the biggest challenger in the sprint. Throughout the race it was starting to get windier and windier and with about 6 laps to go, the skies opened up and just dumped on us. At this point the solo rider had 40 seconds so we weren’t going to bring him back. I kept good field position the whole race thinking that I didn’t want to get caught in the back when it started raining because it would be hard to move up. I was either 2nd or 3rd wheel once it started raining and I held it. After watching how the field was taking the corners in the rain, I had already picked the spot I wanted to attack which was through the last two turns on the course.
With one lap to go, I jumped out of the group 100m before the second to last corner. Because of the rain I completely misjudged my angle of attack and hit the corner way hotter than I was expecting. I don’t know how I kept my bike upright but I did everything short of unclipping to keep from sliding out. I came within two inches of hitting the curb! When I looked back I saw that no one else had enough nerve to follow me through the corner and I had opened a pretty good gap. I sat back down and drilled it to the last corner which was 200m from the finish. I hit that corner perfect and sprinted to the line for 2nd.
All the results for all Masters Nationals races are here.