August 27, 2019 - 100K Race... few breakaway attempts, for 300 meters Sprint at the end.
The 2019 National Road Championship was one of my main goals. Last year i had a sour flavor at the end of the same race due to some dehydration and cramps that made me loose the race for 2 seconds at the sprint.
For this year Nutrition was key, know exactly how my body reacts, how many calories i burn and how many electrolytes I’ll required at given effort. In addition to that i had a very focused power sprint intervals in my training. I went out to train my sprints, film myself if i could and then analyse all the data looking for improvement. Get the right gear, the right position, know how much i can give and really commit every time i sprint.
The race was held in a city at 2600 meters over sea level at the center of Bolivia. I knew that the altitud it was going to be an important factor this time. We had some climbing to do each lap, a total of 800 meters. Most of the route was flat with the climbing just in a few kilometers on the route.
The race started the day before with the TT championship. Last year was a good year for me since i really prepared for that, but this year the focused was on the next day. I did my TT trying not to burn everything, altitud was really hard for me that day.
Fortunately we raced early that day so I had plenty of time to recover. I wasn’t feeling that well after that… little demotivated with the result of the Time Trial of that day. Anyhow, I double checked my S-Works Tarmac fully loaded with ENVE components. The Wheel choice of that day was without a doubt my beloved ENVE SES 4.5 Clincher with 26C Cotton S-Works Turbo Tires and SILCA latex inner tubes. That really feel really fast.
Raceday came, hopefully we were the first to start that day. Start sign was given and rapidly we start having a feel of who where the strong riders at the climb. There were many attacks during the race, I only wanted to be with the group at the front, I manage to try some brake aways myself but I couldn’t got too far.
Last lap came faster than expected, we were riding for over 85K by then, all the time my mind was very busy, trying not to forget about my nutrition, and watching for all the guys that where trying to get the higher step on the podium as well. Few laps before on some of the failed attacks, I manage to see who where the riders that could keep on, who where the guys that were saving themself for the end, and who where the ones that could sprint hard.
Last kilometers were on. On the last U turn I made my move, It was a slight but fast descent after the climb, I got at front and then quickly got back on the group at front. I Manage to stay at the left part of the group, since the last turn was a left. Also I reminded myself that I had to be very well al the middle of the attacking group in order to get very fast and not giving chance for other rider to follow my sprint.
The group was getting really fast as the finish line was near. I don’t remember how fast we where before we made the last turn, I remember that I did a glance all around me to see who we were by then. I was in 5th then. Then suddenly last turn was right up front, and some riders were trying to push me out, I just went out of the apex and back to the asphalt again. 350 meters to go, I was 4th still and was sprint time. As soon as we did the left turn, I was on my pedals. All the training I did was on test. I felt that I did one of my best sprints of all time, I started to gain speed, first shift came, then the second and the third. I was low and in line with the outside right of the group. I passed the 3rd, the 2nd and right at the end I manage to push the bike and win the race with well more than half of my ENVE SES 4.5 front wheel.
I just remember crossing the line with a guy on the left corner of my eye, my arms fully extended at front, my head nearly kissing the stem but focused on the road. And suddenly I was screaming with joy!. Race was over, I was the 2019 National Road Championship, I couldn’t speak, my had was biting so fast, not only because of the sprint of course but also because of the happiness.
Everybody was congratulating me, and I couldn’t say a word. My eyes were becoming watering and I had a knot on my throat.