Ben King's chronicles of the U23 national championship road race
USA Cycling U23 National Championship Road Race: 160 km (6 circuits)
I've been looking forward to this race since placing third in a close finish last year. However, all the heavy hitters have shown up equally motivated. I tried a few light attacks early, but after yesterday's win, I was a marked man. The team took a lot of pressure off me with covering moves, so I was free to follow the other favorites. At about half way, I covered a move with Talansky, Summerhill, and Boswell, but hesitated to commit early to a break with so many strong guys. We came back, and Nate and Julian countered. The course's hills wore visibly on the competition. With two circuits remaining and no threatening breakaways sticking, the strongmen seemed frustrated. I saw an opportunity to attack 40 km from the finish. Three guys tagged me, and we set out ahead of the peloton.
Approaching the two most serious climbs, our gap hovered at a minute. With so much racing to go, it wasn't enough. I increased the tempo and dropped my companions. The gap went up to two minutes, and I had to work for every second of it. I drove into a headwind at the start of the second lap feeling the strain of the heat and miles. A commissaire brought me regular time checks. 2:15, 2:10, 1:45, 2:30, 3 minutes. They kept me going, but the lights were going out. My legs began to cramp. I felt dizzy. Nothing dulled the agony. Only the prospect of realizing my goal to become road champion impelled me to embrace the pain. I had to keep it steady. Cresting the last climb, 5 km from the finish, I waited for the time gap. 2:15. I was going to win. As the realization sunk in, a grin overcame the grimace.
This Article Published June 28, 2010 For more information contact: