By Shane Buysse, SoCalCycling.com Elite Team
Congratulations to Shane on a successful first National Championships, placing 15th in the Time Trial and 26th in the Road Race! – SoCalCycling.com
The Time Trial was slated for Thursday afternoon and my start time was just after 1pm. It was a 35km course with a 10-12km out and back followed by a 10-12 km lollipop loop. The way out was a solid, gradual uphill and the way back in was screaming fast! The loop was hilly, with a few power climbs and exposed to the wind and some super fast sections as well. I lined up a quiet spot under the shade of a tree and grabbed a double espresso before hoping on the trainer. I began my typical warm up, pedaling easy for 20-30 minutes then slowly ramping up the intensity in shorter 1-2 minute intervals with good recovery between. It was definitely a bit warm today, and super dry as usual.
After getting nice and warm I headed over to the bike check about 15 minutes before the start. I had to move my seat back just a touch, which was no big deal with the neutral support help. I watched as other riders had to cut the tip off their saddles because they were way to forward!
My plan was to push hard on the way out, trying not to blow up and recovering on the way in-leaving everything for the final loop. The plan worked out pretty well, although I should have used a bit more energy on the way out than I did. I settled into my pace after leaving the starting gate and navigating some technical sections through a parking lot and school grounds. I made sure to not start out to hard, and pushed hard on the three 3-5 minute climbs. I reached the turn around and worked my way back up to speed. After recovering on the descent and spinning the 55×11 for 10 minutes I reached the lollipop. I had rode this section plenty of times and felt I paced it very well. I powered over the top of the climbs and tried my best to maintain speed for the rollers and through the roundabouts. I gave everything on the final climb before the finish and clocked a 46:24, good enough for 15th place. After reviewing my power file I realized I should have pushed harder on the way out as this was by far the slowest part of the course. Looking forward to racing the course again!
I skipped out on the Criterium Friday night, wanting to be fully rested for the 6 loop, 100 mile Road Race on Sunday.
Elite Men’s National Road Race
Sunday was going to be a warm one. I was working on getting hydrated all weekend and had arranged for my cousin to feed bottles. The awbrey butte circuit is about 17 miles with approximately 1,000 feet of climbing per lap. The hard ascending comes on two climbs of about 2.5 minutes, followed by the feed zone, and 5 minutes, which are separated by about 8-10 minutes of easier rollers. A break was allowed a leash of about 2.5 minutes for the first 3.5 laps of the race. They begin to implode the 4th time up the steep(15%) Archie Briggs climb and by the start of the 5th lap we were groupo compacto. The first four laps were pretty steady/tempo pace as we hammered up the climbs and people slowly splintered off. After riding through the feed zone the 5th time a rider (eventual winner Michael Olheiser) got off the front with a good gap. Before turning right to begin the Archie Briggs climb again the field slowed, and I attacked. I was 2nd on course trying to bridge up to the loan leader. After putting in a hard 5 minute effort and nearing the top of the climb, a group of 3-4 riders had caught me. Soon after the remains of the peloton were all around me and I was absorbed into the group. We worked a steady tempo the rest of the course, but never ended up catching the leader. The last time up the climb I popped a bit and fell back to the chase group. I worked hard with another rider to try to minimize our losses and we ended up finishing within twenty seconds of the main group of 23 riders. The same rider won the time trial and road race this year, as well as last year. I was surprised the teams let him get away again, and I tried my best to bridge up to him. I finished 26th among the top 100 amateur cyclists in the states. If I had not attacked on the 5th lap I may have been able to maintain contact with the lead group on the final climb. I took a risk to go for the podium, and this time it didn’t work out. I’ll be back next year to try again!