Tour of Atlanta, Stage 3

Greg Grosicki and Joe Obrien-Applegate, two cyclists from William and Mary, and I all laid in the hotel moaning in pain and exhaustion. I was by far complaining the worse and I am guessing hurting the worse too. I had been thrown into a new category for this race with faster, stronger cyclists and a race that was twenty miles longer than the category four race. And my legs hurt. My whole body hurt. I had done everything I could to recover quickly but after this morning’s seventy miles, not much could inspire me to do it all again in the afternoon.

From some reserve inspiration within me though, I did manage to roll out on the same course we rode for the TT. Except this time we would do a twelve mile loop a few times. The race began about half a lap from the finish line. The way out was a gradual uphill perfect for breakaways, with the roll away from the finish line and back to the start a gradual, very fast downhill, perfect for destroying any chance a break may have had.

The race went the same each lap with a break succeeding on the uphill and being reeled in easily on the downhill. The only chance for a break to succeed was for the riders to go on the last lap. And that’s what one man did. With the race won by a solo rider with nearly a minute lead, the field sprint was up for grabs.

I sat on as fifth wheel as no one wanted to pass the first rider and get caught out in the wind with too far to the finish. The field just kept slowing and slowing and with a strong jump from the field, the race would have been won. I saw the attack out of the corner of my right eye and heard the whirr and crank of the spin-up of the man’s carbon wheels. Instantly I was on his wheel and instantly we had a gap from the field. But he was cranking hard, my legs hurt, and the commotion from behind us was getting organized. Initially riders panicked, crossing the yellow line, breaking a very important rule and also risking their necks around a blind curve with oncoming traffic.

But the chase was quick and fast and I and the rider who jumped were swarmed at the finish and passed by three riders. Several riders were relegated after the finish because of their dangerous move with one kilometer to go.

With my fifth place finish however, I only moved up in the points standing for the weekend. None of the GC contenders crossed that finish line in front, earning me three points more than Nicholas Jay, four points more than David Lansden, and six points over James Gotsick. Still, I was moving up in the Overall, starting at nearly last, now I was in third place.

We drove back to the hotel and with a Sonic milkshake in hand, my body was beginning to feel better. A good nights rest would surely help with my recovery.

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