“All in” was the word for me today. I went into the race with tired legs after my first block of hard training in preparation for Nationals. I knew my fitness was decent as I had a great race in Oregon at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic three weeks ago, with two stage wins in one of the hardest stage races I have done.
Knowing this course is typically fast and a breakaway seldom sticks, I wanted to work on my leg speed and only make a couple of efforts. The pace was high all day, which is great for a safe race. Over 90 riders and good winds make it hard for a breakaway to succeed. I also was thinking about getting in some field sprint practice as well.
Turns out, a field sprint was evident with 2 to go, as the pace was high. As soon as we crossed the line with one to go my former teammate of 10 plus years, Jamie Paolinetti,attacked! I made the decision within one second to either A., go with him, or B., wait for the field sprint. I decided to attack and go with him. I knew it would be an all-out effort and had to hit over thirty mph for the whole lap. I bridged to him right away and went by him to increase the speed from turn 1 to turn 2. I figured Jamie could give me a breather going between turns 2 and 3 and I could take it up the hill from turn 3 to 4 and then we could sprint it out from corner 4 to the finish. That plan did not work as Jamie decided not to pull through as one Helens rider came with me and did not or could not pull through either. I was thinking that we were going to get caught if neither one of them did not give an effort. Just as fast as they would not pull through, I hit it again up the hill going into turn 4 and gave it my all plus 10 percent as this is the hardest part on the course when you are by yourself. I looked through my arms to see if my 2 rivals were still with me and they came off my wheel. Perfect, now I had to hold it to the line before the chasing field closed in. I could barely raise my arms in victory; I was so tapped from the effort. I hit 196 beats per minute and felt every one of them for the cool down lap. I was excited to win and especially race the last lap at 100 percent for almost 2 minutes. I followed that race with a solid 7th place in the Pro 1,2 race feeling pretty good with my efforts for the day. Thanks for reading.
Michael M.J. Johnson