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How to win a USA National Championship, ft. Matt Adams

By Sofia Marin | In Athlete Interview, Race Reports, Race Tips | on June 19, 2016

Achieve athlete Matt Adams had a fantastic run at USA Cycling’s Masters National Championships, winning the Masters National Criterium Title (age 40-44), as well as earning a bronze medal in the Masters National Road Race (age 40-44).

The Achieve athlete and Director of Mike’s Bikes delivered a standout performance to take gold in the Nationals Crit Championship, making the most of teamwork, planning ahead, split-second decision making and tenacity to win the title.

We sat down with Matt to learn how the race played out and highlight his power data during key moments of the race.

Achieve: How does it feel to have won the US Masters National Criterium Title, not to mention the bronze in the Masters Road Race Championship. Was this a big goal for you?

Matt Adams: It’s still kind of bizarre. I went there with my sights set on the road race. So to have the results play out so differently is kind of weird.


The Plan


A: What was Team Mike’s Bikes-Equator’s strategy going into the crit race?

MA: It was a very technical course and we knew it would be pretty unpredictable. My job was to help TMB-Equator teammate [and AchievePTC Coach] Scott Cox win the crit.  We had a couple of race scenarios – either we’d set up a leadout or I’d take a late flyer. Our plan was for me to attack with two laps to go. We didn’t think Dana Williams and I could hold a leadout train with just the two of us. But taking a late solo flyer would cause a reaction, in effect creating a leadout train made up of other riders heading into the finish. My job was to hold off the chasers long enough while Scott and Dana could sit in.


Key Moments

First 40 min

First 40 min. of Race: Matt’s power averaged 265W, normalized power 295W. This is typical for a flat crit with this many turns. HR averaged 179bpm. Cadence average of 94rpm shows Matt kept a high cadence, therefore saving his legs for later in the race. He did a good job of staying consistent.


Missed Opportunities

MA: Halfway into the race, a group of four got off the front with a 20-second gap. Then two more guys bridged up making it a 6-man break. I thought we lost the race; we had missed two opportunities to be represented up the road. Dana and I knew we had to do some work, otherwise we’d be racing for 7th. We caught the break with about 6 laps to go. As we caught them, everyone at the front was tired. Two riders immediately escaped growing their lead to 10 seconds ahead of the field in the finishing laps.


Final 5 Laps: Looking at heart rate, you can see a spike continuing to rise all the way to the finish. At the start of the segment (turn 3) Matt’s HR was 173bpm. By turn 6 of that same lap, it was up to 190bpm. This was a 34sec segment where he averaged 438W with a cadence of 104rpm. His HR then continued to rise up to 202bpm at the finish. With an estimated FTHR of 173, it’s easy to see how hard Matt was working. Power averaged 340W and NP 360W, right around Matt’s FTP. You’ll also notice he maintained a high cadence of 101rpm.


Go Time

MA: With 2.5 laps to go, Dana said it was time for me to go. With Dana on the front, I came from behind attacking into the technical chicane. I immediately got a gap. I thought, if the field doesn’t come, I have a good chance of winning. If the field does come, it’s the perfect leadout for Scott who can sit on until the sprint.


Never Giving Up

MA: During the final two laps, I knew I just needed to get up to the two-man break no matter what. I held my pace steady and stayed on the gas. As I finally made contact, I knew the gap to the field was big. The two riders were starting to play tactical games and I somehow rode past them ending up on the front. It was a split-second “Holy crap I caught them,” then “Holy crap I’m on the front.” It was a snap decision going first wheel into the technical chicane as hard as I could.


2.5 Laps To Go: This is the point where Matt went solo and began his bridge attempt to the two leaders up the road. The average power of 384W is 35W above his estimated FTP, further illustrating him digging deep and going all in to make the bridge attempt. Avg HR was 197bpm, with an avg cadence of 102rpm.


Learning from Mistakes


MA: I had lost the national road race because I wasn’t aggressive enough. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. I came out of the technical section and sprinted the final 70 meters as hard as I could. When I crossed the line I was in shock. Thirty seconds before that, I was just trying to bridge. It was surreal.



A: Are there any key workouts you found helpful for this style of race?

MA: Clearly the whole well-rounded Achieve program works all the systems, so having a high threshold made parts of the race easier. I’d say the Achieve leadout workouts in particular were the most helpful because of the nature of the course. It had eight turns and sprinting out of eight turns felt like a non-stop leadout workout. I had to sprint just to hold my position. I was confident having to jump after an incomplete recovery, I told myself, “I’ve done this before, I can do this now.”


4 National Championship Medals for Achieve Athletes


Matt Adams, Gold & Bronze, Masters National Criterium & Road Race Championship (40-44)

Dana Williams, Bronze, Masters National Criterium Championship (40-44)

John Funke, Bronze, Masters National Road Race Championship (45-49)

One Comment to "How to win a USA National Championship, ft. Matt Adams"

  • Robbie C says:

    June 21, 2016 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Nice one, Matt

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