In his own words how it all went down .
“The Criterium National Championships took place this past weekend in a small park outside of Louisville, KY. A short notice venue change called for a longer than usual lap at 1.3 miles, and a violent rain storm coupled with slick road surfaces created some wildly technical corners.
The tone for this race was set early on, as there was a big slideout crash in the first corner of the first lap. While it is never pleasing to see people crash, I knew immediately that the tricky off camber first corner and scarcity of traction throughout could play strongly to my advantage. Luckily after some intel on the roads from teammate Lucas Fortini, who had just raced the Cat 1 race, I chose to run a comically low 80psi in my tires.
As the laps ran down, I played my cyclocross card every where I could. I was taking each corner fast without brakes and stayed wide to the outside. This permitted me to make huge passes in each corner as everyone else was braking hard to take the tight inside line, kept me safe as I wasn’t braking on the slick roads, and allowed me to get some rest on the hard pedaling sections while maintaining position near the front.
The downpour escalated to what felt like a monsoon, creating some of the most intense racing conditions I’ve experienced, and with three laps to go it looked like the race would come down to a bunch sprint with a shattered field. With half a lap to go in the race, Rally Cycling rider and long-time friend Curtis White launched a violent attack. Knowing full well he could hold it to the line, I responded as quickly as possible. With two sharp corners separating the final two straightaways, I gave it my all and took some risks to turn even faster than I previously had been turning.
The sprint practically started over 500 meters out on the first of two straightaways, as the few left at the front made desperate attempts to close down Curtis’s gap. I stayed patient and came through the final corner fourth wheel, behind Curtis, Michael Hernandez of CCB Racing, and Stephen Bassett of Jamis Pro Cycling. In the final sprint I was able to gain a spot to finish third. This is a result that I never thought I’d see at a National Championship, let alone less than a year after my Iliac artery surgery.
This Nationals weekend was a huge success and I truly couldn’t be happier. I also couldn’t have done it without all of the incredible support from BikeReg and Joe’s Garage and the guidance from my FinKraft coach Roger Aspholm. I am looking forward to the rest of the racing season in New England ”
Congrats on a breakthrough race Nate , looking forward to see what the future will bring .
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