Monday, April 16, 2007

San Diego Omnium - 3rd Place Overall

This last week I competed in the San Diego Omnium. They call it an Omnium because the race is actually 3 different races that all build points towards an overall winner. Friday's event was a 8 mile time trial, Saturday's event was a 45 mile road race (with 3800 feet of climbing), and Sunday's event was a 40 minute criterium.

I’m happy to say that I was able to pull out 3rd overall in category 5.

Coming into this season I set 3 goals for myself:

1. Get promoted to category 4
2. Finish top 5 in at least 2 crits
3. Ride with the pack at the Omnium road race – last year’s road race was the first race I’d ever done. I got absolutely hammered, getting dropped at the start of the very first climb and having to work like a dog just to finish 2nd or 3rd to last.

This year I set my whole training program up to peak for the Omnium, such that I could do well in the road race. Unfortunately I’d set my schedule up according to last season’s race schedule. When the Omnium was moved forward, all of a sudden it was occurring in the last week of my 2nd build phase.

Regardless, I knew I’d done some hard days in the hills this spring (did the Omnium road race course on my own in March, spent a few Sundays going up Mount Palomar, etc.), I’m about 30 pounds lighter than last year, and at least 50% stronger. So I still felt like I could achieve my goal of riding with the pack.

Friday's time trial went fairly well. It was the first official time trial I'd done. I was able to average around 25 mph for the race (a little slower than I thought I could do), but was able to pick up 4th place in my category.

Saturday's road race was just as hard as I expected it to be. I worked my ass off and was able to stick with the pack up the hills. One of the lessons I learned last year during this race was that nutrition is just as important on this ride as fitness. So this time out I had lots of fluids (laced with some dextrose) and my trusty banana/honey sandwich. My parents came down for this weekend and so they manned the feed zone, handing me water bottles at the end of the first 22 mile lap.

I was able to take in somewhere around 1000 calories during the ride, so I knew I wasn’t going to bonk this time.

In the end I stuck with the fastest riders on the climbs and ended up finishing about 30 seconds behind the eventual winner, which was good for 11th place. This result left me 4th overall after two events.

During Sunday's race I really wanted to try to win the two point primes so that I could try to jump up to second overall. Unfortunately I did a poor job of trying to keep on the wheels of the two guys who were right around me in the points and they were able to beat me to the line for both the primes. I finished 5th in each prime, which gave me 2 more points; however, the guys I was competing with had a net gain of 4 or 5 points each.

This left me knowing that there was a guy who started the day 5 points behind me and now was probably 1 point back. I knew that I couldn’t let him finish in front of me again.

As we got down to 5 laps, things took off as they always do. The guy who was in second overall tried to break from the field. With 3 to go he had been caught. With 1 lap to go I had the two guys I was worried about right in front of me. This time I was committed to making sure I stayed right on their wheels. As we came around the final corner I was right at the front and started to hammer on it for the line. Unfortunately I didn’t have the legs to take the outright victory (I got 4th), but I was able to keep the two guys I was worried about behind me.

In the end I was able to move up one spot in the overall and get the 3rd spot on the podium.

I want to thank everyone who made this weekend’s success possible. My team-mates did a lot to help control the crit race. My parents coming down from Vancouver was a real nice treat (it was especially nice to give them something to cheer about).

Pictures from the weekend

Official results from the race.

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