The third and final day of OKC would be on a wide open dog leg course with a slight raise coming off of one of the late turns in the race before the turn into the final. Out of all the courses I’ve seen for the weekend this was the one that I was most excited about being part of. I was able to survey the course the night before at the pizza joint on turn one over some cheese, dough, and beer. Now it was time to take those calories and improve upon my two 15th places and try to sneak into that top 10 if possible.
Once the race took off I clipped in and faded near the back of the pack. The course was wide enough that I was not worried about having to throw in an all-out starting print to help me get in position. As the early laps ticked down I found a good rhythm and felt like I was coasting half of the start of the race. Justin Williams would tell me something along the lines of his wheel being so smooth, but I think it had something to do with that wide load.
|"wheel so smooth huh?"|
After the first 20 minutes of racing (race was 70 mins long) I started to move up towards the front. Where I was able to cover the attacks and be in position if anything were to happen that could split the race. As the laps kept on ticked by, I felt smooth and comfortable where I was in the pack. Before long the bell was rung for a 100-dollar prime and I was close enough near the front to go for some extra cash. As we approached the final turn for the prime I would get 2nd or 3rd for the cash. The sprint was long and I saw we had a gap on the field. I decided to keep the speed going, and I flew through the next few turns. I was surprised to see that I was solo.
During my time up the road, I ate a gel and drank a lot of water. I knew being solo up the road with about half an hour left with without Elbowz or Arapaho meant there was not a chance to stay away. About a lap and half later friend, and 2010 teammate Kyle Anderson bridged across to me… The two of us worked together for about 20 meters before we both laughed and decided to coast back into the mix… Our gap was only 2 seconds at this point.
With 10 laps to go I still felt strong and was riding close to the front. Beau was riding along side of me and giving me words of encouragement to stay up in the sprint. I followed closely to the wheels in front of me, only coming out of the pack to accelerate up the hill to keep the chase going to a group of 5 that got off the front with about 7 laps to go.
As we got into the final 3 laps of the race, I was still sitting in a decent position near the front of the pack and feeling like I was ready to take up the sprint. Unfortunately, there was a group of 5 that was just out of reach. As we hit the final lap of the race I was sitting about 5 wheel in the pack and I started my sprint as we crested the hill and approached the final turn. I would get passed by a small number of riders on my outside just before the turn. However, I was able to throw down a little sprint of my own and finish 13th place. Although it was not the top 10 that I wanted, it was an improvement on my two 15th places, and with a group of 5 off the front that would put me top ten in the field sprint.
With the conclusion of OKC, I would be setting my sights towards Tulsa tough the following weekend.