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Independence Valley Road Race Recap

I raced the Category 4/5 40+, with several Taco Time NW cycling teammates.

Lap 1. A steady climb to the top of Michigan hill broke the pack into about half. Ted, Dan, Todd, and myself made the front group. A rider in green and black left on a breakaway in the valley as the group stalled with no-one willing to pull hard. You can see him leave at 0:47 in the video. Then, Ted pulled right off the front, dragging another rider him in an apparent accidental chase group. After the race I called it “Ted vs the world.”

Lap 2. We got a gap again at the top of the Michigan hill. Dan yelled “go! go!” over the roller at the top. This time there were 7 of us to make the selection, with the lone breakaway rider still out of sight. Both laps I pushed to be right near the front at the top of the hill, fearing getting dropped on the descent. Max speed was 47.9 mph according to Garmin + Strava, but the road was dry and there must have been no cross wind, because I was totally comfortable.

After we rounded the turn at the bottom of the hill, I took a good look back and saw no-one coming. I said to Dan “this is the race,” but I was wrong. This time we got a good rolling pace line going. A teammate of the breakaway rider had clunking gears, but was a very good sport and rotated through our paceline. My legs were starting to cramp. I figured the pack wouldn’t catch us, but they did – at the end of the valley. At some point in there, we caught the original breakaway rider also. It stayed together with only a little bit of pace pushing until the 3rd and final time up Michigan. 

In my memory, I was on Dan’s wheel all the way up the final climb, but on video all you can see is him as a tiny spec 100ft or so ahead. I was confident having been right at the front the first two times up, but my legs were screaming, so I tried to pace myself. I could hear heavy breathing and had a little gas left to make sure no one passed me. I finished 7th, too far back to catch Ted’s big win on camera.

I’m happy with the result. This was I think my 3rd attempt at this race. The first time I DNF’d after one lap in the rain. Two years ago I was maybe 14th. This year, I am happy to be climbing strong in my first race.


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