By Ethan Atkins -- Modesto Road Race (3) -- 05/18/08
This weekend brought two very hot and very flat races over in Modesto. The crit was largely forgettable for me as I was just sitting in and conserving energy the entire race. This strategy led me being one of the last out of the corner in the final sprint. When the line is around 100 meters from the corner, that doesn't work too well.
Disappointed with myself for racing too passively on Saturday, I decided to bury myself on Saturday. I was pretty aggressive from the gun and found myself in three or four early moves that were all eventually reeled back in. Shortly after getting caught the last time, the race winning move went up the road. Typically, people don't expect that a three man break will succeed for forty miles on a dead flat course. That probably explains the lack of urgency in the pack. I wanted the break brought back and was spending a lot of time in the rotation at the front, but it wasn't enough. It was clear at the start of the last lap that there was not enough cooperation in the chase to bring it back.
With about three or four miles to go I decided to get off the front (or perhaps it was the fact that I had to hang on for dear life when there was a surge from the back). In any case, I rested until 1km to go. A flurry of attacks came in advance of the final corner. Without panicking, I followed wheels and went through the corner in the 15-20th range. From here it was a 500 meter drag race to the finish. I nearly had to put myself into the gravel in the gutter to get around the last guy, but I was able to get clear of everyone with about 100 meters to go and held on by a bike length to take the field sprint.
It wasn't the win I wanted, but it was a very satisfying day nonetheless.