Race Report: Morgul Bismark Road Race SM3
Really fun and always interesting race. Our race was 4 laps (5 times up the wall), and I was joined by Murf, Donnelly, and Lamar for the day. Murf was determined to start a break, but unfortunately it seemed every other person in the group was determined to NOT let a break go. After what had to be 8-9 STRONG attempts in the first lap and a half that were either immediately chased down, or the front 10 people all tried to join in and ruined it, Murf finally conceded. As for myself, the first several times up the wall I tried to position myself towards the front at the bottom, and slowly slide back all the way up, attempting to conserve as much energy as possible. Every time up the wall people pushed pace and tried to make it hard, and I was determined to not get sucked in and waste energy when it didn't count. I continued to stay hidden in the back 3rd of the group throughout the laps (on several occasions shaking hands with the other people in the very back) and focus on confidence and patience until the 4th time up the wall. Here I knew it was more important to maintain good position then to continue to conserve energy, so I tried to stay near the front until people started attacking. At that point, there were several more serious attacks causing breaks in the group where it was easy to get gapped and have to sprint back on. I didn't want that to happen. During that attacking phase, (or maybe before the last time up the wall, I didn't see) the eventually winner of the race went off the front, and was riding solo with about a 20 second gap. At the far turnaround mark we noticed the solo break still had a gap, and it was not decreasing. At that point, Jonathon took to the front and put in a huge effort to try to close down the gap. It was somewhat hard to tell exactly where the break was, since at this point we were starting to pick up more and more of the Masters group in front of us as people got shelled from the group, so there were several people on the road in front of us. Either way, he got it close, but without much support from the other teams unfortunately it wasn't quite enough to close it down entirely. At the final turnaround before the wall, it was all about positioning, and everyone knew it, so it was a fight to get on the right wheel. At the base of the wall, Ben took the front and blasted the pace (for a very long time) keeping it nice and strung out before the attacks started coming. Finally, someone attacked, letting him ease up and get some air. This attack was very early though, so the rest of us moved up with it, but didn't respond in full strength. Finally about 2/3s of the way up the climb, someone else attacked and I felt this was a perfect distance for me to really push it. I followed that wheel for a short few seconds, and then hit a strong surge to come around. It wasn't sprinting distance, so I aimed for a huge effort to get a gap, and then the highest effort I could hold for about the 30-40 seconds left of the climb. I heard the announcer calling that the solo break was just seconds in front of me and slowing, so I kept the intensity on and just focused on the line and keeping my legs moving. I never caught him, but I was able to win from the rest to get 2nd by about 4 seconds. It's not the W, but few have the strength to solo a full lap, and fewer have the guts to try it, so he earned that win, and I'm happy being best of the rest. Huge shout out to Murf for chopping the legs of some stronger riders from the gun, Lamar for getting me as close enough for a chance, and Donnelly for leading out the climb and keeping things tight enough that the fight for position wasn't mixed in with people that had no business being at the front. Go team.
- Collin Z