I awoke as we were driving through Athens, looking for a Walmart parking lot. We arrived and started getting set up. According to the results board, we were still only 12 minutes behind doc2doc. In 24 hours, we hadn’t gained or lost any time. Time to get warmed up…it was a bit cold and misty out.
We immediately got onto the Interstate, but there was absolutely no traffic. My 8 mile run was about as flat as you could get. I cruised along at 20.8mph until JV took over.
My next stretch started to include some 100 to 150 foot rollers along a 5.4 mile section. My power was 20w higher (this seemed to be pretty normal – first pull is low and second pull picked up a bit), and I cruised it at 18.1mph, despite the climbing. Soon we were seeing doc2doc vehicles on the road, so we knew we were close. We were trying to keep the pulls as close to 20 minutes as possible so we could run a bit more intense. We would also try to do the exchanges at the top of the rollers to lose as little time as possible.
The next pull took me about 6.5 miles through Parkersburg. We had just crossed the West Virginia state line and doc2doc riders were now in sight! Nothing like some real competition to get the wattage up another 20 watts! This was getting quite exciting and it was also fun racing on the freeway!
My next pull outside of Parkersburg took me over a series of three 400 foot climbs. These were starting to get tough, but my power was still up in the 192w range on the climbs…that’s good for me this late in the race! 8.2 miles moved along at 17.4mph.
My final pull took me into the control at Greenwood…8.1 miles at 15.4 mph. I was spent and my wattage was dropping significantly into the 160w range. This last section had 3 more 200 foot climbs, and a couple smaller ones. It was also getting cold…I was definitely cooked, and we were loosing sight of doc2doc.
(Note, we found out later that they had put all four racers into rotation on the course to try to get away from us. We couldn’t spend too much time worrying about it…we didn’t think they could keep it up anyway. Also, members of both teams were quite friendly with each other. When their rider passed us we would clap and cheer, and visa versa. It was quite fun!)