I was on my leadout man's wheel, just to the left because the wind was coming from the right. We were flying and I was feeling good. He was spinning in a tiny gear, hands on the tops, and he had just jumped around the last remaining person. I hazarded a look behind me. Strung out. Gaps everywhere. Man, we were flying. "More!" I yelled. Was he going to upshift or just pull me along at 180 rpm? I hit the 200m line, the old finish line, and jumped around my leadout man. Plenty of pavement. Big jump, one click down in the lever, everything is quiet, just pavement.
I check that sliver of daylight under my armpit. I've got meters. It feels like miles. At the end of a sprint I start to shake, trying to extract the last bits of energy from my body, pulling at the bars. I did that and rolled across the line, clear by lengths.
It felt awesome even though an 8-man break had escaped three miles earlier and rolled through the line to gobble up placings; maybe fewer people seriously contested the sprint because of that. No matter. I feel good. I soon learned that my teammates got 2nd and 6th - a good day for the team. On NY Velocity, the one-stop shop for catty, anonymous comments about other bike racers, the team earned the following: "Kissena somehow controlled the race today. They didn't do any work at all to bring the break back, just sitting on the front slowing things down and letting the Giant guy do all the work." Naturally. It's poor form to do work to bring a break back when a quarter of the riders in the break are your teammates.