Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tall Grass Stage Race

 33 total starters for this race.  With a $15k expense for putting it on, thats a net loss of $12,000.  We had 7 total starters in my p/1/2 field.

The event was well organized, and I'm looking forward to it next year.  I'm looking forward to it, mostly because the crit course will be moved from junction city to downtown manhattan, ks.  The course we raced on saturday is probably one of the harder ones out there, especially when you throw at us 100d sun and 30 mph wind.

I don't have a checklist for racing, but I should.  Usually I take 3 sportleg capsules 45min before the race.   Warm up.  Have my garmin turned on, and have my gears in the big ring.  Then I spend 1 minute of intense mental pain, preparing my brain for what I'm about to do to my body. I tell myself that it will all be over in an hour and I will feel much better after I'm done. Then I promise myself beer at the finish and that is that.

  I didn't have any of these checked when the whistle blew.

I look down and I have trouble shifting up while pedaling hard so I'm 6 or 7 bike lengths behind the 6th rider while they are strung out single file flying.  By the end of the first lap I'm still a few bike lengths off the back, finally shifting into the big ring, and I realize my garmin isn't on.  I turn it on.  I hit start, I'm still off the back. I realize it is starting from the end of the tt so I hit reset, hit reset again, finally see the 0000s and hit start, then hit stop accidentally, then stop again.  Then I start going and my legs are screaming. I finally get to the last rider after almost 2 laps.  Attacks have been going and there has been plenty of gaps opened and closed throughout this time.  My legs are on fire.  Eventually the front 3 get a gap and they start to go.  Kent is behind with a flat and Benn is forced to pull some, then he pops, while me and a kid from colorado are left.  I hit it and finish the last 12 laps by myself, getting lapped by both the 1st and 2nd place rider.

I could have easily called it a day.  But it was a timed race, and I knew I had 4th locked, and it was good for training to pedal so hard in the heat and wind.

The road race, originally planned for 103 miles was cut to 87 and was run reverse from the state champs race this saturday.

I didn't think 87 miles was too far, considering 5 days ago I road 130 miles, and 3 days prior to that I road 130 miles.

The difference is this is a race.  You are forced to ride at other riders pace most of the time.  It gets uncomfortable after 3 hours or so.

Within the first 5 miles there was a hiccup, the lead vehicle was going straight while the corner marshall signaled us  to turn left.  Kent was off the front by 10 seconds at least, and he turned, so what do we do?  Turn left like the marshall says and chase kent, or follow the wheel vehicle and leave kent by himself.

We chase kent, eventually a old beat up car pulls next to us and tells us we are going the wrong way.

We get back on course, racing again, kent and ben are attacking each chance, they were going strong, each getting 10-20 second gaps while the 3 gc guys were working to get them back, when they came back, the other would go.  It was a relentless pace until we got to a fast tailwind section.  Me and the 3rd place gc rider, West, had a few bike lengths gap, so I told him we should go, and I started.  We opened up a real good gap, but kent was still up the road.

Then Bob C. attacked the chase group, he got caught, then they countered and he was dropped.  When they finally caught West and I, Kent was still up the road, we finally caught him with Bob way back.  He hadn't been feeling well over night and was way off from his normal self. Usually he goes super hard all day.

The wind was very bad coming back, we had about 8 miles of crosswind, then 8  miles of straight headwind with some hard climbing, 10% grade at the kom.

We stayed together through all of this.  The official said it was $100 to the winner of the kom, which is more than the 3rd place gc rider got, so we were all racing for it.  Through the fast tailwind section, I attacked and had a good gap, but the kid from colorado who was winning the overall did some work and finally through the hard crosswind section they caught me. It was a  long way to the kom still, Ben and Kent were both taking turns sitting in while they other pulled through.  They were ready for some revenge after taking the last 2 spots in the crit.

Straight at the bottom, Ben goes hard, gets a good gap.  I road well, right on the gc leaders wheel all the way up, about 100 meters from the line the other colorado guy jumps from behind me, but Ben still had a good gap and got it, we all sat up.

At the awards they paid $50 to 2nd place kom, and $25 to 3rd. I was 4th by 1 second, could have easily kept pedaling but none of us new they were going 3 spots.

At this point it is really hot out, smoking.

Melissa was giving me a good cold bottle each lap, while watching the 2 babies and her dog.  She did a job giving me good water.

With 1 to go the gc guy attacks, we decide to let him go, it was hard work to stay up and keep at it in the heat . Then Kent attacks.  The colorado guy brings him back, then kent tells him he's 15 minutes off the lead, so he goes again, nobody chases for a couple minutes.

West is in 2nd gc now, I am in 3rd, colorado man 4th.  The fast colorado man is off the front already with gc locked up.

Kent told the dude, he's 15 minutes back, but really he was only 4-6 minutes behind the guy from colorado, and 10 minutes behind me, 12 minutes behind West.

West immediately fears his 12 minutes might be compromised with 30 miles to go in the heat, so he gets us to go.  The 3 of us work while Ben sits in.  It was hard, we were all suffering and Kent was going further and further away.

We get through the tough wind section good, then up the kom.

The colorado man is worried, super worried, Kent is gone, not even close to being in site.  He's pleading for help, we work with him.  The he attacks hard, I chase him down and sit on, we sit on for the next 5 miles.  No way any of us would pull through now, that's how local elite racing is.

He's lucky though, the last 5 miles are all hard crosswinds.  He drills it the rest of the way, all of us in the gutter, 1 inch from the curb to drop off into the dam.

We get to the end of that section, there are two turns, then you climb straight up 300 feet to the finish.  Ben attacks while the corner marshal yells, he's got a minute you, he was talking about Kent, so he wasn't even close to catching any of us, mostly from that colorado dude drilling it.  Had we all sat up and coasted in at 12 mph from the kom, the last 10 miles could have taking an extra 10 minutes, maybe.

With the race over I got $75 for 3rd on the gc, Ben got $100 for the kom, and the colavita team got best team for having 5 riders placing the best, that's $250, 5 ways, so $50 each.

pics from the crit here.

click the results link below.


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