The Walburg Classic – A Surprising Finish

February 26th, 2014

I knew it was important, that’s why I asked the question: “Where is the finish line?” The race director just pointed and said: “It’s over there.” Not exactly the detailed explanation I was looking for, but I guess it was my fault for not taking a look during my warm up.

My goal for the day was be standing on one of those.

Once we started, we were in neutral until we made our way through the small town of Walburg and onto the actual bike course that was a 28 mile loop. The first two miles were pedestrian and I could feel everyone’s hesitation. I even asked someone next to me: “have we started yet?”

Finally, after those first few miles, two guys at the front sprinted away from the pack. I wasn’t going to let that happen without me and attacking early was my plan anyways, so I pushed away from the pack and bridged up. Once I caught up, we hit a hill and one of the guys was spit off the back and rejoined the peloton.

Fueled today by coffee, Amrita Bars, and Osmo Nutrition

For a few miles our duo took turns leading before he spoke up and said: “I’m just seeing how the pack reacts,” which, to me, meant he was going to eventually ease up and join the pack. I told him “we should just go for it.” He was indifferent and said “Okay.” After a few more miles we took an assessment. He thought the pack was gaining but I didn’t think so. I said “let’s keep going!” About this time, we noticed someone from the pack was trying to bridge up and he eventually did.

We then started to take more deliberate 30 second turns now that we had three guys. The guy who had just bridged up wasn’t as strong of a cyclist but he gave us time to catch our breaths. A few miles later, we were joined by another guy. We were almost to the halfway point and just about to enter the hilly half of race. As we approached our first hill, I told the guys that we really needed to hammer it so we would have more breathing room. I was not in the lead going up the hill, but eventually took it when we were not going fast enough. By the top of the hill, there was only one guy with me and I told him: “let’s go for it!”

Almost made it out on top!

For the next 14 miles, I took the lead up the hills and part of the flats and the other guy took the lead on the rest. No matter what, we kept a good distance away from the pack. When we thought they were gaining, the next thing we knew, we were even farther from them.

Eventually we knew we were getting close to the finish, but neither of us knew what it looked like. Looking at our watches we knew we had to be close and hopefully the finish would present itself since the pack finally decided to start catching up. I almost thought they would but by the last hill near the unknown finish, we crested the top to see people gathered. The other guy figured it out before I did and I had also just taken the last pull over the hill. That group of people was the finish line and he sling-shot around me and made a mad dash and I could only follow. I crossed the finish line in 2nd place for Men’s CAT5. Not too bad for my first race of the year. Although, I think things would have been different if I had known the finish line was on the other side of that hill. But in the end, I had fun and got a great workout in. Just in time for my first triathlon the following week.

Jack and Adams and USMES represents

I am fortunate and honored to race for the US Military Elite Triathlon Team, part of US Military Endurance Sports. Racing and training is effortless and made possible by the following USMES sponsors: Boeing, Snapple, Scott, SRAM, Primal, American Classic, Osmo Nutrition, Honey Stinger, Headsweats, Rudy Projects, Xterra Wetsuits and Schwalbe. I’m thankful to be serviced by and involved with my local bike shop, Jack and Adams Bikes. Team Sterghos also includes Vasa, Sable Water Optics, Total Immersion and Amrita. I’m Coached and trained by Tim Crowley of TC2 coaching. Finally, at the end of the day my heart belongs to Heather.