This was my first year doing GMSR and I don’t think it will be my last. The race is great, in a great location. I rode in the 4/5 Open field
Stage 1: TT, uphill start, downhill finish with the “dip” inside the last km. I was pretty happy with my pacing but probably could have gone harder on the uphill portion. Even with perfect pacing I think top 10 would have been as good as I could have possibly done. Dave lent me an aero helmet which must have helped on the downhill portion. The uphill part of the dip doesn’t look like much on paper but after 10 km made for a hard finish. 12th overall, 59 seconds out of first (a very fast TT field this year)
Stage 2: Circuit Race 80km, with one good sized hill. I flatted during the neutral rollout up the hill the first time. Luckily we had SRAM neutral support and I had a new front wheel in seconds and had no problem getting back into the group. I tested myself and checked out the GC field by keeping up with the KOM attacks and made sure a break didn’t go without me on the hill. On the last lap I bridged up to a solo break and we worked well together for about 5 km before the group finally caught up. I had put in some big efforts during the break but had enough time to recover for the finale. I followed some wheels and ended up 7th on the stage after the bunch sprint. Still 12th in GC.
Stage 3: The Queen Stage, 110 km road race finishing with the Baby Gap, App Gap mountain top finish. Fairly easy ride keeping near the front but out of the wind, saving myself for the finale. Unfortunately I flatted at the base of Baby Gap. Luckily I had CO2 with me and the leak was slow. I was able to get some more pressure in my tire and start the climb, but 2 minutes back of the leaders. I was able to pass a bunch of racers on the ride to the finish but didn’t get any help from them. I ended up 22nd overall and 22nd in the GC, 7 minutes down. Very disappointed but the climb was epic even if I was trailing off the back!
Stage 4: 1 km, 6 turn crit in downtown Burlington. It was wet and the course was quite technical. I knew that the first 5+ laps would be killer with the leaders trying to get some splits in the field. Despite starting relatively close to the front a bunch of gaps opened up in front of me and I spent the first 5 laps doing lots of work to connect with the front of the race. I eventually did catch up and the pace went down a bit. It took me a long time to recover and by the time I did, two strong riders were off the front. During the last lap, with the break still away, another rider attacked and I saw a good opportunity to get the jump on the sprinters so I bridged up and sat on his wheel until the last corner when I began my very long uphill sprint. I was able to hold off the sprinters for 3rd! Only 12 riders finished on the lead lap with every one else being pulled and so losing time. As a result of this and a time bonus for 3rd I ended up 12th in the GC. Very happy with this performance. I raced very well tactically and got a great result despite not being a good crit racer.
Stage racing is lots of fun and the Mad River Valley is lots of fun for racing as well as for supporters of racers. I will encourage Lapdog racers of all abilities to give GMSR a try next year. It has something for everyone and provides great focus for the end of the year given the front end loaded nature of the OCUP calendar this year.