Sometimes you get beat. You can give a thousand “truthy” explanations but really, you just got beat. That’s what happened to us at Winston-Salem, except on top of just getting beat… something wasn’t quite right.
The Winston-Salem Cycling Classic begins with USA Crit #3. The Crit series attracts some of the fastest crit specialists in NA, looking for prize money, prestige and action of all sorts. The Winston-Salem leg of the series is a rock and roll affair that takes place on a technical downtown course amidst a music festival. The atmosphere is gritty, with wafts of beer, coffee, skunk weed and the occasional sniff of patchuoli oil adding a touch of intriguing grubbiness to the scene. It all makes sense when you remember this city now renowned for its glassy medical centers and support of the arts is historically a tobacco town.
At any rate, this year our guys just got beat. They weren’t able to make the junction to the lead group as it grew gradually from 2-5 riders and held off the peloton. It’s disappointing as we’ve managed to come away with something in almost every race this year but there’s not much more to say about that. What was strange was the fact Stephen Bassett out-sprinted Eric Young for the win. Hey. Stephen is a great person who raced for my teams for years and is on great form but he’s not known for his sprint. Eric is a two-time US National Crit champ. As the dust and sun settled into the evening, it was clear this was not going to be a typical Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.
In the road race, we didn’t just get beat, we got absolutely fried. The heat cooked the entire peloton, even the winning move seemed to crawl to the finish in what turned out to be a dominant ride by Elevate KHS. (They finished 1-2). Usually, heat-stroked or not, this road race is fast and animated by late decisive attacks. This year riders molasses’d forward and backward in small salt-stained groups. We had riders in almost every major move as Robin Plamondon, Noah Granigan and Alec Cowan all had a presence. In the end, Granigan snail-trailed a credible 10th place and deserves serious kudos for toughing it out. The race organizers deserve serious credit as well. WSCC is a great weekend… we just didn’t rise to the challenge. Next year!