Nice day at the park — very different from the previous two. Most significantly, the wind was weaker and had shifted directly from the west after two days of gusting from the south. The course is roughly an oval on a north/south axis, so this had the effect of making the vast majority of the race in a crosswind. It could have been this, or it could have been the fact that people are starting to get tired, but after settling in the main pack hung together. There were attacks, but for the most part the pace was consistent.
For my part, I did what I planned to: find a way to wheel suck and recover. After some early exuberance where I messed around at the front of the pack, I mostly sat in toward the back and enjoyed not drilling it. In a big group, the accordion effect is a real thing. I tried to watch the front of the group so I could see when they jumped so as to get moving before the people in front of me reacted. This sorta worked, but I was working harder than I would have if I were closer to the middle of the group, especially in the corners. On the upside, the whole race felt much, much easier than the last two and looking at the power graphs from day 2 and last night’s race, you can see why. Though my average speed, top speed, and top wattage are all higher on day 3, my average wattage is more than 30 watts lower. Not being right on your lactate threshold for 45 minutes (TT or cross style) has a way of making things seem a whole lot less bleak.
1. Corners taken five people wide at 25mph are pretty scary.
2. Being toward the front of the pack in the middle is the sweet spot. I need to practice being there.
3. Field sprints are nuts. After a whole race of people behaving in an orderly fashion, all of a sudden everyone is trying to find a hole to thread. Maybe field sprints are for people who don’t have wives/kids/jobs they have to go to the next day.
4. Positioning leading up to the field sprint is really important (knowing this and actually experiencing it first hand are very different).