Here is a summary of Andy Farley’s experience racing in his first USA Cycling road event this past weekend (April 5-6) in Albuquerque, NM. I always enjoy reading about first experiences, particularly when they are this positive. Congratulations!
Individual Time Trial Saturday, April 5th AM — Andy took 5th place
Time trial course was a 20k rolling out and back along the WEST I-40 frontage road to include portions of the moderate descent, 7% grade, and (then) climb out of Rio Puerco Valley.
On Saturday the time trial was really fun. A tailwind pushed us all the way out and then a headwind coming back. There was descending, climbing, and rollers, a little bit of everything it was great. I was fifth in the time trial.
Criterium Saturday, April 5th PM — Andy took 3rd place
Criterium was held at the NAPA Speedway on a paved 1.1 mile road course. The 36 foot wide road course incorporated technical and sweeping turns as well as a bank turns.
The crit followed and was a great experience for me. I hadn’t fared too well in the previous two crits I participated in with the wheel club here in town (Durango), but I learned a lot. I was able to match and hang with the front group through many surges and jumped from six or seven deep to finish third in the sprint.
Road Race Sunday, April 6th — Andy placed 2nd
Located North of Cedar Crest, NM (just East of Sandia Crest)
The course was a 31.25 mile loop (race bible listed distance) comprising of HW 14, HW 344, going up Heart Break Hill and HW 306(a.k.a. Frost road).
I was second (overall) going into the road race on Sunday and was able to drive the course the night before to know what to expect, as well as got many pointers from a lot of you on how to prepare myself for the race. The roll up to the flat just before heartbreak Hill was very mellow and a good warm up. There was a slight surge on the straightaway just before the hill and I had been advised that with only one 34 mile lap, if there was a strong group of riders at the top of the hill with me that we may be able to pull off a break. We crested the hill with four of us up front and all went to work to open the gap. After proper introductions, I found myself doing a bit of coaching using tactics and advice that I get on a regular basis from my experiences with the wheel club. Our group of four only lasted 5 or 6 miles as one was unable to hold the paceline and dropped back. From that point there were three of us until the intersection of frost road where the two with me crashed with each other. As they scrambled to get up and back to my wheel I had an opportunity to have a bite to eat. The crash however damage the derailer of “Quail”, wearing the leaders jersey and he was unable to do any work to help us along Frost Road. It came down to Kaleb and me, the other guy with us from the intersection of Frost Road on, and somewhere in that stretch we lost the leader jersey. After turning back north into the wind with 5 miles to go Kaleb, asked if I needed the win to take over first. I told him lets just race and I’d feel better with that, based on how much work he’d put in, and what we’d done to stay away. We shared pulls going into the final rise to the finish. He jumped at the bottom around 400m and I got on his wheel thinking he’d gone too early, but as we approached I noticed he wasn’t wavering, so at around 100 meters, I got out alongside him and we hammered to the line, he very deservingly took the win by half a wheel. I later found out that this moved him from 6th to 3rd overall which was great, because it wouldn’t have changed my overall being that the leader still finished third, a minute or so back.
Thanks to everybody for the pointers and support you all express. I appreciate all of it, and thoroughly enjoy the rides and the experience I have gained with the Durango wheel club.