Collegiate National Championships 2019

This past weekend, I competed in the Collegiate Road National Championships in Augusta, Georgia for my college, the University of Colorado Boulder. Joining me were eight other CU men including my 303 Project teammate Grant Ellwood. The weekend consisted of team and individual time trials on Friday, road race Saturday, and criterium Sunday.  I sat out the time trials to give other guys a chance to race them as well as to save myself for the mass-start events. Our TTT squad repeated as national champions, and the team would attempt to defend my 2018 collegiate road title the next day.

We came into the road race looking to stick a breakaway with at least two riders, which would be a difficult task given the relatively unselective course. We made the mistake of missing a serious two-rider break that got up to a gap of two and a half minutes three laps into the five lap race. After trying unsuccessfully to form a chase move, we resorted to riding the front with four of our six riders, and Grant and I protected for the finish. When a moto official told us we would be finishing after four laps, we were 15km from the finish line. Grant joined the others on the  front and they brought the break back within 1km of the finish. I ultimately made my move far too early on the finishing climb and ended up 10th.

Ironically, in the criterium the team was riding for a sprint but ended up in a serious breakaway. Rain fell for most of the race and quite a few riders slid out on the slick pavement. About 20 minutes into the 80-minute race, my teammate Paul was in a three-man move with about 10 to 15 seconds on the field. I attacked, bridging up to the break and Paul and I started to drive it hard. We rode most of the race with about a half-lap advantage over the peloton and neither group could see much of the other. We ended up lapping the field around 10 laps to go. Paul slid out shortly after and chased back on, but wasn’t much of a factor in the finish. I attacked with one to go because I didn’t want to risk sprinting the other two riders from the break. I crossed the line second, safely ahead of the other riders on the lead lap, for the win.


By Eric Brunner