Yesterday I raced in my second Pawling Road Race and got to actually finish this one after an early crash that knocked me out of contention last year. Overall it went really well and I’m very pleased with my ride. I felt strong, climbed well and did a ton of pacing for the chase group as well.
Racing is still new to me, and after the crash last year I took a chance by starting right off the front. Generally people are quite happy to have someone else lead the pack and yesterday was no acception. It wasn’t until the first climb of the day that anything changed … two guys attacked and pretty immediately dropped the rest of us. A few other guys got ahead of me initially, but I was climbing well and easily fought back driving to the front of the chase.
Following the initial climb is a good long stretch of flat into downhill that stretches for miles. I stayed in front through this whole sequence and it wasn’t until the turn on 55 that a small group finally decided to take some of the work. As we climbed up 55, I took a “break” at the end of the train and prepared for the final climb on Old 55. Making the turn I was able to once again pull ahead of the guys in our group and felt good coming back down the other side. The descent into Pawling down Old 55 can be rather bumpy and given this was a race, I’d say I was cautiously aggressive in my approach.
The final turn onto Lakeside is a twisty set of rollers heading slightly up. I felt good still driving, but wasn’t quite sure what was happening right behind me. Unfortunately the chase pack had been gaining and formed a nice sprint finish passing me at 200m. I think my final result is 9th though am waiting on the official results to post.
All told a good day. I’ve got a bit to learn (and train) on sprints to make sure I’ve got the gas at the end. I know I’ve got the power … just how it’s distributed. In hindsight I probably could have jammed much harder on Old 55 to build a bigger gap for the finish. Always next year …