Imagine ten thousand screaming fans along a short, half-mile-long course where somehow the race organizers managed to pack nine turns into that distance. Add two hundred of the top cyclists in the country and what you have is the Red Bull Last Stand at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.
Red Bull is known to take things up another level, and the Last Stand twilight criterium, along with Mother Nature hardly disappointed for both the racers and spectators. AmpHP athlete Jake Magee shared his experience from the day.
The Red Bull Last Stand is a twilight criterium with an elimination format, meaning the last rider across the line is pulled from the race each lap. I was entered in both the fixed gear and geared events for the day, which meant four warm-ups, four warm-downs, two qualifiers, and two final races. It was a busy day. My goal was to win the Double Down award that was awarded to the rider with a combination of the most laps for the fixed gear and geared races.
Once warmed up and a light sweat was achieved, I applied PR Lotion and went to staging. It was literally one minute before my fixed qualifier and down came the rain...and a large group of us in the very first corner. I got back going again quickly and qualified in 6th for the final, which was good enough to give me a good starting position for the finals.
Then it was straight into my warm down, a quick bite to eat then back to a warm up. Next up was the geared bike qualifier where I qualified 3rd with less drama than the first qualifier.
Fixed Final- 50 laps
Having a good start position was key because the race was on from the gun and never slowed down. This was my first fixed gear event, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I assured myself it would slow down at some point. I was wrong. Eventually, my legs opened up a little, but one rider already had a large gap and took the win. I was in a chasing group of three and ended up taking 4th place, with my teammate claiming 2nd.
Then back to the trainer I went where I warmed down and took in some fluid and snacks.
Geared Final- 50 laps
We started pretty easy, or at least my legs had found something extra later in the day after a nap and a bowl of Fruit Loops. I was floating around inside the top 10 easily, I knew the riders I needed to keep an eye on for a shot at the Double Down win. The course suited me with lots of turning, which made positioning key. I basically just held my position around 6-7th until we got into the final 10 laps and only 10 riders were left, then the pace lifted even more. I could continue responding to attacks until the last few laps with four of us sprinting to the line, no one wanting to be the last rider who would be pulled. I was 4th which meant I was done. Claiming 4th once again was frustrating but the crowd was roaring which was cool and I threw a little wheelie on the back side of the course for them.
Men’s Double Down winner! I had completed the most laps of anyone between the fixed gear finals and the geared finals. I got my chance to spray the champagne which was a nice feeling and tasted pretty sweet!
It was all about sticking to my routine of warm ups and warm downs and applying PR Lotion 20 minutes before hitting the gas. Being able to push through the pain for an extra lap or two definitely secured this result and it was a nice way to end the year for myself and Aventon Factory Team.