Tuesday, June 13, 2006


With a 5 mile hill climb saturday morning, a tough circuit race saturday afternoon and one of the most difficult 90 mile road courses anywhere on sunday this race was quite the weekend outing. I felt great during the TT and was really happy with my time (18:13)...but was only fast enough for 4th! I was a bit bummed about that until I found out how good the guys were who beat me and after seeing my power numbers. The 352 watt average power you see above is closer to my best (and expected ) output for this type of event. This puts me at about 5.27 watts/Kg...acceptable.

The circuit race was on a difficult course with a nasty steep little climb and plenty of rollers. The field was strong and it was hot. Since I won this event last year all eyes were on me and I could not do ANYTHING without being covered....kind of frustrating, but of course that didn't stop me from trying. On the last of 3 laps 2 guys did sneak up the raod and the field was content to let them go. After the last real climb it made sense for me to work for my only teammate Reid who certainly has a faster sprint than me. I tried to help keep it together on the run-in then got the heck out of the way for the fast/narrow downhill sprint. Reid looked good and was right at the front, poised to win the field sprint...then all of a sudden there was a bike and dirt flying through the air. As I passed at 30mph I saw it was Reid......I crossed the line and rode back to him. At first I thought he was seriously injured....but amazingly he came out with just a few cuts and bruises. He had been forced into the curb in full sprint.

Sunday was the killer 90 + mile 3 Gap road race. We were to do 2 laps of the 3 Gap loop then continue up to finish at the top of Woody's Gap. That meant 7 big climbs with vitually no flat roads between. I love this course...it is one of the best I have ever raced on. Since I knew that the field was not going to let me go anywhere today I had a little fun and attacked right from the start and continued attacking until I finally got away with 2 other guys just a few miles in. Dumb idea I know, but I was just having fun...and really thinking more about training for nationals. I thought if we had a little breathing room when we got to the rockpile (the start of the Woody's climb) we had a shot of staying away for a while. No....they didn't want to let us get anywhere so we were caught at about mile 9 or 10. The first time up Woody's was a nice fast tempo...not too hard...but hard enough. The guys at the front really gassed it for the last KM though and it was hard for a bit. Down the descent on the way to Wolfpen I tried attacking again...usually at times when I was hoping to catch the groupo off guard...still no luck. Wolfpen is fairly steep, but I was comfortable and went over the top about 10th position. The guys rode HARD down the Wolfpen descent....WAY faster than last year. For some reason I was very comfortable descending today and had no trouble staying with the leaders. We bottomed out and hit the Neal's climb immediately. I looked back and there was a huge gap behind...we had the field down to about 20 guys. I told Reid this and we drove it up the first half of the climb to keep the split. It worked. By the time we let some other guys take over there was nothing is sight behind. Cool. I was tired, but feeling more and more confident. I knew I would not win this race, but a top 5 was very possible.

We hit the long descent and again were flying. I felt my chain jam and backpedaled to clear it then cranked forward out of a turn. I felt it twist and snap. Next thing I knew I was grabbing the brakes as the chain was whipping my ankles and the rear wheel was intermittantly locking up at 40MPH. I got the bike stopped, but that was it: Game Over. I caught a ride back to the top of the climb and coased back down to the feed zone. I fixed the chain by taking out the twisted links and put in a new connector. I got back on the bike and rode the course backward until I met up with Reid who had gotten dropped on the 2nd time up Woody's. We rode back together and watched the guys come up past the Rockpile for the last time, then watched as the Women came by at the start of their race.

I sat in the hot parking lot near the start for hours waiting for the women to return after their finish. It turns out that there was a serious motorcycle wreck on the Neal's descent and they had to stop all the afternoon races for almost an hour! It turned into quite a long day. I was pretty dissappointed in not getting to finish the road race....but I raced HARD for about half the race, and was able to ride almost the full distance. there is always another race.

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