The mid-April weather in Boise was a bit wintry. The day before the 2nd Spring Breakout race (3-race series), I found myself doing openers inside on the rollers due to a small accumulation of morning snowfall. Race day brought clear skies, light wind, and the temperature had risen to a brisk mid 30F by race start (following overnight hard frost). Thankfully, the warmth of the sun was able to counteract the cold temperature.
The Cat3 race launched at 9:05AM. The field size was a little smaller than the first race of the series, with a peloton consisting of 16 riders. The Race to Robie Creek half marathon could have affected the field size, as it was occurring at the same time. Apparently, some cyclists like to include running in their training programs — props to them — but personally, the only running I like to imagine is Chris Froome salvaging the last kilometer up Mont Ventoux in the yellow jersey following crash between the race leaders and photography motorcycle due to overly exuberant fan crowding.
Team Bobs-Bicycles.com fielded a strong team of seven riders.
There was nervous small talk during the 1 mile neutral rollout through the left turn onto Poen Road. During this time, Brian McClain noticed that two teammates were missing. We had Tucker, Jake, and Mark, but where were Gregg and Shaun. Later, we found they had to empty their bladders one last time before the race, which put them in the position of chasing back on before the race even started (nice work, guys!).
Both Shaun and Gregg ended up playing vital roles throughout the race. Shaun frustrated our main competitor and winner of the first race in the series (Allan Schroeder) by sitting on his wheel and making him expend more energy than he would have otherwise. Gregg raced smart and put in some strong efforts, earning him a 5th place finish in the bunch sprint. Gregg recently upgraded to Cat3, and he has shown consistent strong performance.
During the first 16 mile lap of the 3 lap race, the peloton cooperated in a rotation that pushed the average speed to 24.1mph. I guess everyone just wanted to get that first lap out of the way.
On the final lap we had our guys in good position:
- Tucker was near the front, or on the front setting the place. He is a smart racer. I always enjoy being near him in a race, because I know I can trust him. We spend a lot of our training days on the road together, and have gotten to know each other’s riding abilities well.
- Jake made a solid effort coming into the last turn onto Cloverdale road, stringing the field out so we didn’t get bunched up coming into the turn, and forcing the back half of the peloton to chase really hard to catch back on (shooting the last bullet they were saving for the sprint). Jake always seems to make strategic moves at the right time, sacrificing himself for the team in order to put us in good position. He is one of the best teammates you could ask for.
- Brian made the game changing attack on the final 4 mile straight away of Cloverdale Rd. Earlier in the race, he dropped back to me and said he wasn’t feeling it today. Everyone has those days, and for feeling “off” he threw in a strong attack, putting him well up the road solo. This forced Team Upcycle to chase him down, burning up their sprinter Erik Young who placed 3rd in the first Spring Breakout race, and putting Allan Schroeder in bad position for the final sprint.
- While this chase was occurring, I was able to conserve energy by sitting in good position on the trusty wheel of Gabe Keck riding for Team Mercedes. I could see the amount of effort that was being exerted on the front to reel in Brian. His level of fitness is insane right now. Brian eventually got caught, but he positioned his team in the best scenario for a podium placement.
Tucker, Gregg, Shaun, and myself were all in good position for the final sprint. The pace picked up as we went over the last little riser before the final sprint. Tucker was battling for good position. I was able to sit on his wheel for a bit before gravitating toward Eric Denning’s rear wheel when a small gap opened up. Tucker got boxed-in at this point, putting him in an undesirable position for the sprint.
Eric Denning laid down some serious wattage and pulled away, so I transitioned to Gabe Keck’s wheel until I decided to open up my sprint. I was able to go around his left side, putting myself across the double yellow line of the narrow one lane sprint. It came down to a photo finish and I was able to take 2nd place following Eric Denning’s strong performance. Gabe Keck came in third. I was relieved to not be disqualified.
- Author: Kevon Bjornson
- Editor: Fritz Stafford
- Published: April 18, 2017