Leading into the final week of the Spring Fling, there were numerous discussions over what our strategy would be. With rumors that second place in the series, Joe Peterson (Rasmussen Bike Shop), would not be there, I had the overall series win secured. Kent and Benn were sitting 4th and 5th in the series so we wanted to try to move them up and then possibly get one more of our guys up into the top five. A few of us had volunteered to corner marshal for the first two races early in the day, and as we sat there watching the Master’s and Women’s races we bounced different ideas around of what our plan should be. After taking a look at the series points we decided that if we could get Scott the win and get Kent and Benn some prime points, we could put four of our guys in the top five in the overall. I was getting excited!
We set out for our usual longish warmup. By this time I would generally have already eaten my usual pre-race Chipotle burrito, but we had spent the morning at the course, and I hadn’t planned out my meals very well before leaving the house. I was getting hungry, which made me slightly nervous so I brought some money along with me to make a quick food stop during the ride. All was going smooth, as usual, until my shifter ate my rear derailleur cable. We were near campus when this occurred, so thankfully we were close to Sunflower and could swing by to pick up a new cable, and hopefully still make it to the race in time. The nerves were really kicking in now. I threw my bike in the stand took the shredded cable out, and Benn and one of the mechanics at Sunflower, Collin, helped me thread the new one in. Crisis averted, but I was still hungry, and we were on a time crunch to make it back to the race. I grabbed a couple Bonk Breakers from the shop and we rolled out. Not exactly the lunch of champions, but I was happy to have anything at this point.
We made it back to the race, discussed the game plan one more time, and hit the start line. From the gun, there was a hard attack from someone that strung the field out and took me somewhat off guard. Since we had the numbers I was expecting the field to wait for us to show our cards. Scott and I had started at the back, and gaps were already beginning to open up, so we quickly navigated our way up to the rest of our team and began to rotate on the front to make a selection. After about three laps of controlling the front, the only people left were our team plus Luke Sykora (Lincoln Industries) and Marc Walter (Powerade). The race turned into a team time trial. When the bell rang for the first prime, it was the first test to see how our legs felt. We had averaged 27.9 mph up until this point, and I could feel it. Since I didn’t need any points in the sprints, my job was to lead it out until the second to last corner. I pulled off and Garrick took over. I filed in behind Benn and Scott and we took 1st-5th in the prime. We quickly reorganized our train and continued to rotate on the front, slowing the pace slightly so that we wouldn’t crack before the race was over and to ensure that everyone would be fresh enough to have a sprint left for the remaining primes. The second and third prime were almost identical to the first. Luke Sykora nipped Garrick at the line for 4th in one of the sprints, but regardless, everything was still going well for us. In the final sprint Scott, Kent, and Benn took 1, 2, 3 and Garrick and I placed 4th and 5th. In the series, Kent and I finished 1st and 2nd, Joe Peterson took 3rd, and Benn and Scott placed 4th and 5th.
Thanks so much to Revolution Racing for the great race. The Spring Fling celebrated its 20th year, and we were happy to be a part of it. The early season racing gave us the opportunity to practice tactics that will help us in the bigger races. This weekend we will be at the Lecompton Team Time Trial on Saturday. Sunday, a couple of the guys will be racing the Gravelleur’s Raid. We will also have a few guys in the wind tunnel of Kansas, Bazaar. See you this weekend!