Syracuse Road Race P12 Race Report – By Erik Markewich

NYS road championship, just south of Syracuse in central NY. Also…part of an omnium weekend?!?! Some were chasing omnium points, some were chasing the jersey, wound up pretty weird tactically. The course is 3 26mi loops with a 3mi out and back from the start, totaling 85 miles and is generally quite windy. There is one climb that is ~6.5-7.5 minutes depending on how smoked you are, and it is followed up by rollers afterwards. I took 10th which I am not particularly happy about.

 

A break of 3 rolled from the gun and I didn’t give it much thought given the length and the wind, but it was a really negative field and by the time a chase actually started at like mile 60 they had 6 minutes of advantage. The break stuck til the end, they still had 2.5 minutes at the finish. In that breakaway was a NY bro, so there went the jersey ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

As far as my race goes, it was super super easy until it wasn’t. This isn’t really something that favors me as I tend to do better when things are consistently difficult, which seems to take punch out of other riders’ legs. Not exaggerating, I avg’d ~145w for the first 20 miles, and then we hit the climb and I did 5.9 for ~6:45 and that was *just* enough to get me over the top with the leaders. We did the few miles of rollers that followed the climb with some speed, and then things were equally chill as the first lap until the second time through the hilly section 20 or so miles later. The second time up the climb I decided to try climbing it at my own pace instead of following the punchy guys thinking maybe it would suit me better and save a match, but this resulted in me losing about 10 seconds by the top and it took a few miles to chase back on with some others, but all was well by then.

 

~60 miles and I was pretty annoyed at the negativity of the race dynamics. While the 3 man break was out of sight and out of mind, anyone else that tried anything was shut down as quickly as possible, and then there would be a lot of looking around and comments about how dumb the race was, at which point someone else would try to roll and it would get brought back immediately and more softpedaling would happen. I didn’t want to have to go up the climb again with relatively fresh punchy bros, so I spent the next 8 or so miles doing what I could to get OTF. The area I was trying in was fairly flat with a cross tailwind, and I had limited time before we turned right into a cross headwind to make it work. I spent handfuls of time here and there with 5-10 seconds of advantage, but I couldn’t get more than that and was paced back every time. Then as soon as I would be caught things would shut down again, and then it would go back to soft pedaling. While it did flick guys out the back it didn’t really get rid of anyone that would’ve been a threat, so I essentially spent energy for other people :(. Then we hit the climb and I cracked a bit about half way up it and lost about 15 seconds by the top to 10 riders, and it was followed by a pretty fast tailwind descent, so I lost more time on the downhill than the uphill. There was still the initial break of 3 riders up the road, and 10 guys scattered about in front of me, and nobody in sight behind me, so I put my head down for the last half an hour and did what I could to get back to the front. I caught and passed 3 riders in the same position as me, which got me into the top 10.

 

All in all pretty frustrating, I wanted better and it feels like an under performance. I had a weird-ass charlie brown stress day on Saturday that I am pretty sure bled into my race somewhat, but I also think I need to recognize that my strength seems to be being able to dump lots of kj for long periods of time and try to play towards that better. Considering the negative dynamics of the field I’m just not quite sure what I could’ve done differently besides having joined the 85 mile suicide breakaway…but that seemed like a bad idea at the time.

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