Sunday was suppose to the nicer day of the weekend but when we got up it was pretty nasty out. A heavy fog and drizzle hung over Bellevue. That harshed my victory buzz from Saturday night. Really???? I reluctantly got all my gear ready and headed off the hill at 11:15. I was hoping (praying) that it would get better once we hit sea level....NOT! It was still misting some as we drove across the I-90 bridge. Even if it stopped raining there was no way the course would be dry by our start time. . We arrived in the U-District and it was a little better. The earlier races were run on wet roads and it sounded like road rash was dished out. It looked like the course could be completely dried up by our start time.
This would be the first time I've race here. I seem to always be out of town for this one. I took a few laps around the course and like it. It seemed fast and the little slope on the backside was nice. This was going to be a lot different than yesterday's race. First of all it was 50 minutes and not 35 (Lame). Also, I had Nikos, Tom, Matt, Kevin, Brian, Jeff and Landon lining up with me, all strong as hell. As usual we just planned on attacking as much as we could and hoped to get someone in a break. Most of the out of state last night were here and many crit loving locals.
I think this crit started out faster than any I've been in this year. We were single file pretty much the whole race. (averaged 30mph for the 50 minutes) I'm not sure if it was adrenalin from the win last night but I was feeling really good. It was an awesome feeling. Let's rip this thing apart! Every time I thought about attacking one of my teammates was already on it. First Nikos, then Tom, Jeff and the constant herculean efforts by Matt. For the early part of the race all I did was mark counter attacks as teammates shot off the front. The pace was furious. I looked down at my Garmin and we were only 17 minutes into this thing. This was going to be a pain fest.
We were always at the front pushing the pace. As soon as a break was pulled back we started another. At one point Matt stayed out front solo for several laps and after he was brought back he took a couple of breaths and then took off again. The dude has an engine! Tom, Nikos, Jeff and Kevin also launched attacks that made the rest of team have to do tons of work. I would let a guy or two try to bridge but then latch on if any of the big hitters tried to go. It was getting tough but I was still feeling good so I just stayed up front and helped try to keep teammates up the road.
Things were winding down and it started to look like no one was going to get away. I wanted to do the same thing as yesterday and get to the front with about six to go and hold my position. I was feeling super strong and I figured I could sprint hard on the backside, reach turn three sitting nothing less than third wheel, kick it into overdrive and slingshot a teammate across the line......Easy, right.
With four to go Matt once again came to the front and got the field strung out. I was sitting two wheels back. This was going to make it easy for me to hold my position. Matt was getting things started and all I had to do was come off his wheel with hopefully Nikos and Tom right on mine.
We came through the line with three to go. Thigs were looking good and then.....Ring, ring, ring!!! Prime lap!! Bastards!! This was going to mess things up a bit. Even though I was at the front of the pack I had zero intensions of this prime. I just wanted to be ride the wheels of the guys that did. Since there would only be two to go after this I wasn't sure if anyone would actively try to take it. I was wrong. As we rounded corner 4 several guys took off. I just sat on the back and enjoyed the ride. As soon as they crossed the line they sat up for a second and coasted through turn one.
Hmmmmm??? I looked back noticed that the pack was a little scattered. Everyone would regroup when we hit corner two. I made a split second decision to jump. BAM!! I went as hard as I could. I was actually hoping that a couple of guys would jump with me. Hopefully one of my guys was one of them. If everyone reacted then I was going to start this bullet train off and go hard for as long as I could. I took a quick look back and Holy Shit!! No one came with me?? I had a gap! There was no turning back now. I put it in overdrive and pedaled like I stole something. This was going to be two laps of pure hell!
my former Starbucks teammates yelling at the top of their lungs. This gave me motivation to go even harder. I heard the annouced say that I had about a ten second gap Can I do this??? I was either going to win or get gobbled up and spit off the back. I remembered something that Todd Herriott told me once. Basically, if you're hurting, everyone behind you probably is too. You've gone this far, you can easily suffer for another 30 seconds. Well, let's make that about one minute!!
I put that in my head and on the slight up hill I jumped out of the saddle and put myself into the pain cave, knowing I'd have a few seconds of relief on the downhill section between turns three and four. I knew my teammates were doing everything possible to help hold my lead. I hit turn three and finally took a quick look back. The pack was driving hard. I think I may have even prayed for second here. I took the perfect line through the two quick corners, put my head down and sprinted like I never had before. About half way down I gave another quick look back and realized I was going to win. I sat up and enjoyed the moment. I put my hands in the air, listened while Even called the finish and to the cheers of the crowd. I've had some great finishes before but this was one of the best! My team is awesome today and I couldn't have done it without them. Tom, Nikos and Matt sprinted it out with the big hitters and finished 4th, 6th and 9th respectively. Two wins in less then 24 hours. That doesn't suck!
photos 1,2,3,4,5 & 7 by Densise Phillips
photo #6 by Amara Edwards - Wheels in Focus
photo #6 by Amara Edwards - Wheels in Focus