On Saturday I raced in the Trek Korea Championship race. It was held in Tae An where I won the Tour de Korea pre test in 2011. This year however the course was quite a bit shorter and the racing was broken down by age groups like most races here in Korea.
I was in the men 30 and under road bike group and there were over 100 riders at the start (and over 900 racers total for the day).
My race started out pretty fast with a few attacks and that were caught by the field. Then we hit the first climb of the day and Yujin from the Giant team went to the front to try to string out the field however after the descent we still had a fairly big back. Leading into the second and last big hill of the course there were several attacks and chasers including my new teammate Hyun Seok who was on the front trying to chase someone before the climb. Once we hit the climb one rider was about 20 meters up on the pack and I went to the front and dragged the pack up to him. After the downhill the pack had been reduced to about 12 riders with a 30~ rider pack about 10 seconds behind us. Our group worked pretty well together to stay away.
At this point the there was about 15km of flat riding left and because of course changes no one really knew where the finish line was going to be. With about 10km to go we started a small loop and caught a glimpse of where the finish would be. I kept this in mind and worked stayed near the front of our group. Coming into what would be the last corner I was sitting 3rd wheel. We went around a gradual bend and suddenly the finish was 200m in front of us.
Yujin from Giant started the spint and I went after him. I passed him with about 100m to go and thought I might hold on for the win but with 50 meters to go Seung Yong from Seven Hills racing went flying past me for the win. Also right on the line another rider pulled along side me and we actually ended up tying on time and therefore both finishing second.
I was happy with how the race went but I wished I would have studied the course map a little bit better. Had I known the last corner was so close to the finish I could have attacked going into it and possibly held on for the win. But Seung Yong had a much stronger sprint in the end and I was still pleased with second place.
The finish was actually about 25km from where the start was so I decided to ride back rather than ride in the team van. I actually ended up riding with Chul Soo, the rider who tied me for second. It turns out this is his first race in 3 years because he used to be a professional racer in Korea. It was interesting talking about the Korean pro racing and cycling development system and how different it is than the American one.
Because the race was sponsored by Trek it had awesome prizes. I got a Trek 1.1 road bike for finishing second and I won a Spy backpack in the raffle after the race.
My team also had a pretty good day. Michelle finished first in the Women's Road bike division, and Yeon Deok finished 5th for Men under 30 in the mtb division. We had two new riders racing with us as well. Hyun Seok who I mentioned earlier ended up cramping but still finishing the race and our new youngest rider who is only 15 managed to stay with the main pack and finish 23rd. Overall a pretty good day for the team.
I have a 3 week break from racing now with my next race being a criterium on August 4th.
Me cornering. The rider behind me with the Red helmet is Chul Soo who I ended up tying for second place.
Me in our break away group of 12. Next to me is Seung Yong(with the clear helmet cover) who won the race. Just behind me is Keith from the Storm riders team that I did a group ride with the previous weekend.