Woodruff Hall Baum has been training in serious fashion all winter, his goal to succeed in road racing.
He was scoring top-5s and a 2nd at Plainville Criterium already this season, but he felt like he could win a race, frustrated with his actual racing pacing and how he was using his energy. Woody knew there was a difference between winning and between racing hard.
The easier part was done: Woody’s racing form was strong — and when the conditioning is there, once results and strategies have been used in real races, then real racing analysis can begin, which can be the harder part, find a way to perform successfully in important racing moments. Woody and his coach were able to come up with a strategy for the next few races.
At Prospect Park on Sunday, still early in the season, Woody was able to put together a great performance. “The race was super-slow at first,” Woody said, “and I didn’t want to be the guy mixing it up.”
Woody felt strong as the race got going, and he told himself to just sit in the entire race. He could sense who was dangerous in the group, he absolutely knew he was going to wait for the final lap, had confidence that his patience was going to pay off.
As the race reached closer to the final lap, Woody knew what to do when riders started going for it.
In the final lap, Woody was able to just hang there, relaxing, gaining confidence in the finale of the race. He knew he had good legs, he knew he was moving up to 5th wheel before the last climb, he knew all he needed to do was wait for the right time to fire.
The four riders in front of him drilled that hill, and Woody sat latched on that wheel in front of him, pedaling and steady, and right before the top, he bolted.
Woody went for it with everything. He looked back quick and no one else had followed. Doing instant math calculations in his head, he wondered if his gap was big enough to hold off a hungry pack of chasing wolves, hungry for the result.
The answer: Woody was able to power his lead to the finish line, winning the first race of his cycling career.
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Woody Baum races road bikes for Foundation Cycling New York City. Foundation Cycling was established in 2000 and is the longest-standing club in the CRCA.
The organization is organized and operated exclusively to foster national and international amateur cycling.