Here’s Joe Siegel’s report from TOWC in Maryland:
GC: steak knives*
The GC was a better result than I could have imagined or hoped for coming into the race. And yet, I was so, so disappointed to get it. I was only ever in a position to win because the RR winner flatted in the TT, so it was not a position I earned by any stretch of imagination.
Holy crap I didn’t want to win though. After losing last year by being hit by a car, a year which started out with promise, and the recovery I’ve been though…P123 GC win would have been epic. Hence the disappointment I’ll probably never lose despite what was actually the best race I’ve ever had as a cyclist.
RR: steak knives
I felt good for this race. I knew the course well and knew my fitness was good. Even better, I knew that this year (compared to years past) I had two things going for me: 1) I knew from training that I would still have reasonable legs after a hard day and 2) Road races were “costing” me fewer TSS that I would have guessed. With that information, I felt a bit more confident being active and taking chances OTF. However, we all decided as a team that we thought no break would survive for a few reasons, including some intel from my MABRA spy (aka my old teammate and friend still in the area). I’ve realized however, that I don’t know how to pack sit. I can’t sit still while I see something that may be a winning move go up the road, ESPECIALLY in a stage race. I noticed KBS Elite in a few, some as the attacker and some chaser and I did see them do work in some (and sit in others). I decided that I thought KBS would try to make a break work with the right people in it. Dan and I played some OTF games over the first few laps. At one point I spent a few promising minutes with 3 other riders OTF (one KBS) but with one USMES leech who contributed nothing. It didn’t work. Shortly after the mid-way point, a KBS rider was OTF with a couple others. Another KBS rider attacked to bridge – holy crap – this move would have 2 KBS riders…this move looked to have serious flavor. I bridged to the KBS bridger and he towed me up. ALL said and done, the move had 8 riders, quickly gained time on the pack and had the right mix to make it all the way.
I quickly learned that the KBS riders were their (arguably) 2 best – Chris Jones and Andrew Seitz. The move was chaotic however. Big enough to be very strong but so big that a good rhythm never established and almost immediately pulls were being skipped and riders trying to get a free ride. In this case, I hoped KBS would take change – they were the elites and the only team with 2 riders. They should have set the tone and been barking orders. They yelled a little but did not take any leadership. Despite this, there were enough people willing to work (along with our amazing teammates controlling the pack) to quickly gain over a minute and become safe. Shortly after the start of the last lap, after a right hand turn and up a small hill leading to some S curves, gaps opened with KBS OTF. We entered the very fast flat section after this and KBS was opening a gap – 2 riders attacked to follow and I got nervous. I attacked to bridge to them. 1 rider was a friend (Lucas McCallum) and former very good triathlete so I counted on his TT skills for the bridge and ride home. However, they faltered halfway just as I caught them and instead of latching on I decided to power past them, not allow them to catch my wheel and make the bridge solo. It worked and I soon found myself with Chris Jones. Here’s the interesting part of my race: I knew both Jones and Seitz were incredible TTers. I also didn’t have confidence in my ability to beat Jones for the win. I quickly offered him a deal – he does a majority of the work, does not attack me and I will concede the stage win at the line. He accepted. My rational was that I didn’t have confidence of beating him, I didn’t want him to attack me and I solo in, and I wanted to gain as much time as possible on his teammate while conserving as much energy as possible. I also feigned feeling a bit worse than I actually did.
Long story short, we worked together, rode it home, opened a 56 second gap on his teammate and I “lost” perhaps the most uninteresting sprint finish in RR history.
TT: you’re fired
It’s a TT. It’s boring. However, just before starting, Chris Jones walked his bike back through the starting line having flatted and DNF’ed the TT…holy shit…I’m GC leader on the road. Seitz beat me by 30 sec at TOPC TT…can I hold him off here? He beat me, but only by ~28 sec. A good result…and one which left me 1st GC for the crit.
I’ve run out of energy and momentum writing this report. The crit was hard and fast and my downfall. Seitz sat second by 30 something seconds. He made many attacks. I covered all but 1. I spent 3 laps on the front trying to pull the last one back, and got to within 20 feet, but I could not finish it, i cracked, and over the next few laps the break rolled away. I knew I lost when after almost closing I looked around me and saw 3 KBS jerseys on my wheel and no one willing to come around me as I slowed. The pack was willing to live and die by my ability to close all break attempts and was happy to race for scraps in the sprint. Will and Alex had some back luck early in the race. Dan had pounded it from the gun holding all attacks at bay and then covering more throughout the race. Dan did some seriously epic teammating for me…some of the most heart I’ve seen in a race! The last 10 laps or so I was too tired to continue chasing and hoped a couple sprinters/sprinter teams would help. They did not. KBS did an incredible job managing the front and setting Seitz up for multiple attacks at the best possible times. Sometimes Goliath wins.