Saturday: I knew going into day one of Lago that I needed to conserve energy whenever possible, which is sometimes difficult to do without missing a breakaway. I also knew overextending myself on day one would ruin my legs, and I wouldn't have enough in the tank for the much more difficult course on day two. I wanted to keep myself in the front of the pack and always be ready to counter.
Somewhere around lap five, the pack split into two groups. Those two groups would go to the end. I kept myself in the back of the front pack and made no extra effort. I felt the group was going to stay together purely based on the size of the pack and that the course wasn't very difficult.
Day one ended up being straight forward for me. I made one move on the final lap to try to get away. I have seen a group of two or three riders make it to the line ahead of the pack and I thought I might be able to pull that off. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and we got caught with about 1km to go. Luckily I had enough time to regroup and get ready for the sprint.
Going into the sprint positioning is key. If you're too far back, you'll never come through and if you're too far forward the last 100 meters will be an eternity. I felt like I had a good shot going into the sprint and I knew I was just about perfectly positioned. I ended up making one mistake. I should've moved left and followed the Butcher Box Cycling lead out. Instead, I went to the right which forced me to start my sprint early to not get boxed in. I ended up powering to the line very far out and got 3rd. I was happy with the result, but not satisfied.
Sunday: This is my favorite road race in Texas. The course is long and hard. If you don't have good fitness, it is going to show. We've also had especially warm temperatures in 2023. There are fifteen laps and you have to be very cognizant of how hard you're working early on to ensure you have the legs for the finish.
My teammate, Stefan, attacked early and got away solo. I felt like he could ride a good tempo upfront and wait for a chase group to come to him.
On the main climb, I attacked and bridged across to Stefan. At the time, I was surprised the pack let me go. Stefan and I rotated for the next lap and made all the chasing riders work to get across. Over the next two laps, we had six riders come across and make the selection. Since it was so early in the race, I was happy that we had a bigger group to split up the workload and keep the pack from catching.
The group worked well together and we were able to increase our gap over the main pack. By lap ten, I knew we were going to stay away. I was trying to gauge who I needed to worry about and who wouldn't be a threat going to the line. It was obvious that Doug Frenchak and Evan McQuirk of Butcher Box Cycling were the two we had to worry about. The goal was to separate the two of them and deal with them one on one.
With three laps to go, Evan attacked at the bottom of the climb and I knew that that was my moment. I followed Evan and was the only one that was able to stay on his wheel. As soon as Evan started slowing down, I got on the front and pushed the pace to create a gap. I was successful in creating a gap between the rest of the break away. At the top of the climb when you turn onto the downhill you can see the riders coming and it gave me a good idea of what I was working against. I saw Doug by himself and I knew that was perfect for me.
I felt confident going into the sprint against Evan so my plan was to make it where Evan would have to go back and get Doug if he wanted to have a numbers advantage. This put me in an odd position. Evan was trying to wait for Doug to get back with us before he was going to work. I decided to just do enough work to keep Doug behind us and keep Evan with me. I knew if I dropped Evan he would go back to Doug and they would chase together which would have been less than ideal for me.
On the final lap, I put in one big dig to try to get away and to the finish solo, but it didn’t quite workout. When we got to the top of the climb, I knew that it was down to Evan and me. Going down to the finish I had to manage keeping us away and not going into the sprint first. About half a mile to go, I was on the front keeping the pace up and Evan attacked which fortunately was easy for me to cover on the downhill. I was going to come into the sprint second wheel which was perfect. Evan started to go about 150 meter from the line and I came around him in the last 50 meters to take the win!
Ending the first round of races this year with a win was just what the team and I needed going into the summer. La Primavera is very special to me. It was my first race win in the Pro 1,2 category in 2019. Capturing the win for a second time makes it even more meaningful.