Sam Sprints for the Win at the Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series

As the whistle sounded, Derek Cote of CCAP attacked. I yelled at him, pretend-furious at his hubris. Graham Garber followed the move, in addition to a Foundation rider. I was in the vicinity, knew Graham could carry a break all on his own (despite his atrociously hair legs), so I jumped on the train, cursing my dumb idiot over-enthusiasm, while, at the same time, trying to justify it because a move exactly like this lapped the field the last time I raced here. The day before at Trooper Brinkerhoff, CCAP did the same thing. The day before, it didn’t work.

I had arrived early so that I could spin out the pain and suffering from my legs after the previous day's effort. Cole had made the break (and won), which meant that I spent the day sitting on every move that went off the front. At the end of the day we had the same normalized power. That should never, ever, ever nevereverever happen when you are comparing my files with Coles. Ever.

Anyway, Cole and I talked strategy while warming up in circles. Though there was no shortage of ways our race could play out, we decided to try and cover smart moves, and strike out when we felt it was the right opportunity. Most importantly, we were determined that both of us would get into the inevitable breakaway. This is called foreshadowing.

Cole off the frontWe put 30 seconds into the field before I, or probably anyone else, knew what was happening. We did it. One and done. We were off.

For those of you unfamiliar with Walnut Park, you can see clear across it. You have tabs on the whole field at all times. So when I looked across to the peloton, and saw that John Harris, Eneas, and Cole had jumped clear, and were on their way to play bikes, I came straight off the gas. So did Derek. Eventually, after an agonizingly long time, they caught. Now we were 7. Two more danger men I had to worry about, but one powerhouse that I was very very glad to see.

We worked well enough, we 7. But eventually it started to break down. People would skip pulls, open gaps etc. We had a huge lead, so it didn't really matter. Cole having had just about enough of that nonsense, got on the front and, for 3 solid laps, pulled the lot of us up to the waiting field.

Things got interesting from there. Both Eneas and John knew they couldn't let it come down to a field sprint. Johnny had an estimated 200 teammates at his disposal however, and CCAP began sending dudes up the road to give John a launching pad to which he could bridge. Smart. Luckily, no one else in the break was about to let him get anywhere. Every time John tried to bridge to his would-be breakmates, he was smothered.

With 7 to go, Eneas attacked, over the yellow line, into a group of pedestrians, as Cole was trying to neutralize the front because of the danger. Classy. We chased him down, and now all allegiances were off the table. John tried once or twice more, but there were too many dudes who were too excited to sprint it out (yay!).

It was around this time when I heard from a few wheels behind me: “We have to get away from Sam and Cole. We can't let it come to a sprint.” Honest to god. That happened. That was my favorite part of the race.

Sam sprints for the win!With two-to-go Cole got to the front... and stayed there. Forever. For a solid two laps, Cole poured watts everywhere. I sat in fourth wheel behind Hoyle and Harris, cramping, but confident. Once over the top of the hill, I knew we were going to win. If Cole had sit up right there, Hoyle would have to lead out from too far. If Cole could hold it to the corner, Hoyle would have more speed, and I would come around them going 200mph with a smile on my face.

Well; Cole made it to the corner, but Hoyle didn't open it up, and Eneas jumped from 5th wheel behind me. As I stood up, my legs seizing in protest, I stabbed three hard steps and had his wheel. I waited a little longer than I normally would, letting him soak up that glorious headwind, knowing that I had one good kick left before my legs would fall clumsily off my body.

If I could live in the last 10 seconds of a bike race, I would. In the end, the fun part is the thing I’m good at.

I remember last year when we won Standish having a lovely feeling of weight being lifted off my shoulders. Like a: "Hey, you did the work, you can still win, relax." It's the same feeling I had today. Even with all of the snow-birding and running away to train, there is always a voice in the back of my mind that says: You're still not strong enough. You're not on form yet. That voice got a little quieter today. Until next year.

@srosenholtz takes the win after @coleridesbikes crushes last lap leadout

A video posted by @travisforhire onApr 12, 2015 at 1:19pm PDT