James was not sure how his legs were going to perform after the very hard ride on Sunday, but he remembered one of the training commandments: Always Ride the Day Before a Race.
The week was busy and he carved out time to get his short recovery ride in on Monday. Many small things done right makes things happen.
On Tuesday, as he drove to Augusta’s Sussex Fairgrounds, the weather was an awesome summer day – he noted how pretty Sussex is in summer.
At the venue, he warmed up with two light laps…
As he lined up, he reviewed his plan: sit in, wait for the last lap, go all-in on that little hill right before the finish.
The race started and James was able to find a good draft from the gun, coasting up in the front-third of the peloton. The legs were good.
On the first prime, three riders accelerated off. James told himself not to go. After the prime, the three riders did not get absorbed by the peloton.
James wondered if he could bridge the gap, but he stayed committed to the plan and sat tight. If this is the night the break sticks, so be it.
After the 5-lap counter was announced, the peloton raised the pace. Up front, one of the riders in the break was dispatched – just two leaders up the road now.
James pulled a few times to contribute but he was not going to do more than what he did. With 3 to go, he was scoping every meter of that little hill, planning and measuring his coming attack.
With 2 laps to go, the legs were awesome and he sat tight as the group hit the hill again.
Bell lap, James was fifth wheel and fighting a few riders off – everyone was trying to muscle in.
The group hit the hill, James was near front, in a good place, he accelerated and pinned it hard up the inside line, just letting it rip.
He put his head down and just went. ALL IN.
He heard nothing but air.
He was in the drops, alone, going downhill into the last turn to the straight.
He looked back – never look back so soon – and a rider was about three bike lengths behind, to the left.
James put his head down and accelerated to the line, pipped for 4th.
“I will never do that again,” James said. “But I had a great night, this was my best finish in a crit. I am feeling prepared every time I go out there and race. Feels awesome to be able to do things like this, it enhances the enjoyment of racing.”
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James Yoo is a Cat-4 road racer on the RBNY Racing/Sommerville Sports road and cyclocross team based in NYC.
This summer, one of the squad’s main goals is to race successfully at the Rockleigh Criterium Series.