Went to Hermann with The Bike Shack crew and teammate Brian. The forecast called for hot conditions (90+ degrees, with wind on Sunday) Race fans may recall the last time we ventured to Hermann, the conditions were epic. This time the weather was excellent but ended up being a factor in the RR. On to the reports:
A new TT course this year. From the profile, I could tell that the course would suit me better than last year's race, as there was now some elevation change. We got into town on Friday night in time to do early packet pickup and saw promoter Jeff Yeilding who told us to go drive the course so we knew what it was like. Once we saw the course, I was really excited to race it. There were two climbs, one 10% and another 16% that we got to climb on the way out and then again on the way back (I think they were a little less steep on the back side).Overall I felt really good on the TT, I rode a little conservatively on the way out and really had some good sensations in the legs on the way back. I ended up in 3rd overall, 13 seconds back from Justin Maciekowitz and 6 seconds behind Zach Reed.
The criterium course is very tough. One big climb, a false flat over the top, a fun, fast descent make this one of my favorites. I was planning on just sitting in for the race and seeing what the other GC guys did, but after a couple of laps Nick Coil had countered some attacks and was off the front solo. The group did not seem terribly motivated to chase so with 8 to go I put in a soft attack at the bottom of the course to try and draw out the other GC riders to pursue Nick. No one came after me so I just went on my own. A couple of laps later I found out I was closing the gap to Nick and that Zack Reed was in chase solo. I had closed the gap to Nick to under 30 seconds, but Zach had caught up to me with 3 to go. I was getting pretty cooked at this point and Zach jumped on the climb and I didn't have the legs to chase. I stayed clear from the rest of the pack but was unable to close the gap to Nick. Zach caught Nick too and jumped him for the win. Another good race for me.
After the crit I was in 2nd on GC with 6 or 7 guys that could bump me down based on the RR. I decided to play the race very conservatively and see how it went. The tempuratures were already high by the time we started at 10:30. The first lap went pretty good, though I was a little nervous how much water I was going through. I had started with 3 bottles and had one at the feed zone each time, but that didn't end up being enough. Toward the end of the second lap I was starting to feel cramps coming on with hard efforts and after the final climb out of town I was not going very good. I tried to fake it and stick with the group as long as possible, but the writing was on the wall at that point. Each climb there was a surge that put me more into the hurt. Eventually Nick Coil and I both blew up and so we rode around very slowly the rest of the lap. We both had to stop a couple of times to get some more water and abate the cramps. We had almost made it back into town and my legs seized completely. I had to get off the bike for a minute to wait for things to calm back down to make the last couple of miles back in. We both collapsed after the finish, 40+ minutes down on the day - terribly dehydrated. Nick ended up in the hospital on the way home, but is doing fine. The Bike Shack guys took great care of me, peeling me off my bike and making me drink a ton of Gatorade and water which probably helped me from needing the hospital as well.
Overall, I still managed 4th place despite missing out on the points in the RR, so that was good. the support staff for all the races was excellent and all the courses were great. Thanks to Jeff Yielding and the whole Hermann Crew for a great race!