This year’s race took place on an unusually hot September day – it was so hot and dusty that for the first time ever, I took multiple feeds during the race. I thought that the course layout was better than in the past, with the addition of a couple chicanes, but I would like to see more use of the side hill around the velodrome. The start of the race was in a different location than it usually is, and I thought it was better than past years.
I was hoping that my teammates – Lewis, Layton, Calder and I – could continue RAD Racing’s success from earlier in the day when many of our teammates podiumed in the Junior races and Brayden Buchanen’s big win in Cat 4.
I started in the fourth row, and proceeded to pass a lot of people on the outside and was within the top twenty racers by the first corner. I moved up to the top ten within the first half lap and was sitting third wheel at the conclusion of the first lap. My race strategy was going according to plan, and I was sitting in, drafting off the leaders so I could catch my breath. On the second lap Jim Brown told me to attack over the barriers. I attacked in the corners before the barriers and continued my attack over the barriers; once I remounted I looked over my shoulder and saw my closest pursuiter was about ten seconds behind. I put my head down and went hard for the next lap and my gap grew to around thirty seconds. I knew the race wasn’t over yet, I was tired from my attack and I still had twenty-five minutes to go.
On the third lap I went in to the pits for water and no one I knew was ready to hand out a bottle, but I was handed one by a stranger at the end of the pit. I was pushing and when you push it too hard, then mistakes happen. On the fourth lap, I tried to pedal around a corner and the pedal hit the ground sliding my back tire out. When I got back on I noticed my left hood was bent and I heard Laurie O’Brien call out “Keep going Scott! Just put it behind you!!” I still had a sizeable lead so I was able to take a deep breath and put it behind me.
I rode to the pit where I made a sloppy bike exchange. The next time I went through the pit I got back on my “A” bike. I was starting to build a solid gap and tried to “ride my race” for the remaining four laps. I was very thankful that Griffin Meyers was always ready with a water bottle by the team tents. I felt comfortable enough to ride the logs on the last lap and wrap up the race with a textbook win in Cat 3 men. It was a boost of confidence since I’ve spent most of the last month focusing on cross country as a freshman runner on my high school team.
Thanks to Low Pressure Promotions for partnering with RAD Racing for this race and to Deschutes Brewery for donating all the product for our team’s beer garden fundraiser – which I heard was a great success! The podium prizes were awesome and I am stoked to have won a Rapha jacket.