Friday, May 30, 2008

tour of leelanau

After a week of training on the track in Colorado I flew to northern Michigan for the 110 mile uci road race near Traverse City. I knew the travel would be tough....but after landing in Chicago and sitting on the tarmac for 45 minutes I missed my connecting flight and the day became super stressful. For a while i thought I was going to have to rent a car and drive the 5+ hours the rest of the way....but luckily I got onto an evening flight.

The race course was beautiful....lots of tough hills. I actually RACED at the front for at least a while. I was feeling good and went with the very first attack.....ummmm....not such a good idea. We were looking good for the first hour....riding well, then it started to rain. I managed to get gapped off on the first KOM climb and had to chase back for a few KM...ouch, but no right back to the front and was able to mix it up a little more....then we hit a twisty/ wet/ pot holed descent. I was still in contact with the group as I passed a teammate right near the bottom. I waited for him and tried to pull him back to the bunch. Just as I was making contact I looked back and saw he was behind, so I slowed again....big mistake. the field was going fast and as it turns out he was not really having any problems....Ryan Gamm came around us and drilled it to get us back on. Ryan pulled off and I went hard up the base of a small climb. Joe was able to jump around and get right back on the group and I ...well....I got dropped. Of course at that point there was only about 50 riders out of the 110+ starters in the field....but still. I chased hard for a bit but was soon caught by a group of about 6 riders from behind. These guys were motoring and I slotted right in. We kept the gap at 15 to 20 seconds for several miles...then the gap blew out and we lost sight of the field.

I had good company with ex teammate Shaun Adams and MTB superstar Mike Simonson. We kept the pace high enough to hurt, but our goal was to make the tight time cut as we knew we would not see the field again until the finish. We rode hard for the rest of the course but still managed to miss the time cut....what a drag to see a DNF next to your name when you did actually finish the race....oh well ...that is what you get when you try to play with the big kids.

The highlight of the day was as our group was finishing up the final steep hill. Simonson and I were going really hard....not sprinting mind you but riding hard for the finish. Just as we got about a half a meter from the line, neither of us wanting the distinction of sprinting the laughing group we both jammed on our brakes and came to a virtual track stand at the line..... I am not sure who won that contest :)

After the race I got to spend some quality time with my teammates....while we were bummed that the team performance was not the best, we did manage to have some fun.

Up at 4:15am on monday morning and back to Denver and the drive back to C-Springs by noon.

Next competition: the Paralympic Trials !!!!

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