Oh ya, today was a good day! The one race for the year that matters (to me) was today in Union City. This race decided the Georgia State Road Race Champion (In all categories). 68 miles for us (more like 66.2), 23+ mph and I managed to pull out the win.
This was my 16th race this season (if you break down each race from the Tour of Atlanta and the Gainesville omnium) and I finally got on the podium. I almost didn't race but signed up on Friday after doing the Pizza ride Thursday and feeling great.
No warm-up but I did ride the last 2 turns of the course to see how it finished. I didn't know the start or finish of the course but have ridden silk sheets several times so I knew that part. It was a lolly pop course with 2 loops in the middle. Steady pace most of the day. 1 crash early on the first loop. Single lane roads all day with a bunched up pack made it difficult to move up. I looked forward to the KOM part of the course so I could get some breathing room and move forward. For some reason I was always behind the guys moving backwards through the peleton. Didn't matter where I was. I'd be the 5th rider and 5 minutes later was 25 people back and it was impossible to move up. I took a short pull on the front and jumped after a few breaks but for the most part stayed in the pack. Bill K. paced the peleton up to one of the several attempts riders made to get off the front. The pack never let more than 2 people go at a time but someone was always off the front. I was supposed to rain but never did. I brought 2 large water bottles and almost a 3rd in my jersey but opted not to carry the weight. I only drank 1 bottle and ate most of 2 cliff bars. At one point we were only 30 seconds behind the U35 Cat 4/5 race which they were told to pick up the pace or be neutralized.
I made sure I was in the first 20 riders for the last 12 miles. Traffic caused some problems with about 4 miles to go and we had to squeeze around a few cars and split the group. Of course we were going 30+ mph by then and weren't going to let up until the finish. I usually try to take the left side of the road because that's the side that opens up in the sprint but I was suck on the right side (and not happy). Several of us got pushed off into the grass at different times on the course. After the 2nd to last turn I was about 20 people back with about 1/4 mile to the finish. The double pace line moved to the left side of the lane after the turn and opened the right side up (in the wind) but it was open. My only chance of placing is to be in the top 4 or 5 going into the last turn. I picked up my pace to just below a sprint and moved up to the front. With about 4 riders left to pass I started to sprint so I could be first into the corner. Lucky for me there were a few riders who blew up and were moving backwards through the pace line which caused some confusion. I was first through the last corner with maybe a bike length lead. I could hear people cheering for me from the right side of the road (some Aarons riders and Dana). By this time my legs were screaming but there was only 200 yards left and I was in front. I took 1 look behind and put my head down and peddled with everything I had left. I kept listening to see if I could hear anyone coming around me but it was almost quiet, in slow motion with only the voice in my head, "faster - DO NOT LET UP". FIRST... no way! I almost fell over trying to celebrate. Then air came back into the lungs and nausea set in. HR at 201 for the sprint. Evidently it was a pace line for the first 3 positions with Mike Carter on my wheel. The guy who Bill B finished behind for 2nd in the Cumming race.
3 hours later, all the races were finished, podiums photo'd and I got my jersey. Awesome.
2008 Georgia Cup Mayor's Race - Georgia State Road Race Championships. Picture is of the Mayor and City Council, Police Chief, Fire Chief and the 2008 Georgia State Road Race Champions. (I'm in the middle, green Colavita shorts with my hands behind my back)