Monday, March 28, 2011

NWA Spring Classic

Went back to Arkansas for the NWA race. Originally, the forecast called for 60s and sun, but as the day of the race got closer, the forecast looked less and less sunny. It was 35 at start time and barely got to 40 by the end of the race. Probably the coldest i've been since the sleet of the 2009 Joe Sheehan RR.

Anyway, the race was sort of weird. There were some small attacks on the first lap, but nothing serious. On the second lap a three person break escaped early in the lap, but the Mercy team was the only team that seemed interested in bringing it back. Midway through the last lap the break had over 2 minutes, so everyone sat up and attacks started again. I tried to get into several promising moves but nothing stuck. Bob Cummings got away solo prior to the final little climb before the finish but no one even responded to that attack. Up the last climb I was a little boxed in but got onto Jason Waddle as Kris French had just attacked with Will Gault. All the major players made the move, but I didn't have the legs to go with them. Oddly, just over the top I was able to get composed again so I tried another attempt to get on the chase group, and was within a handful of seconds off, but couldn't close the gap.  Just rolled in with the 3rd group on the road for 11th.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hell's Kitchen

Hell's Kitchen RR this past weekend. Super course with some good climbing. Great organizers, volunteers, and communication. I will absolutely go back for this one. I had been on the course a couple of times before, but just for training.

I don't understand why Kansas really doesn't have any spring road races - most everything around here is less than 50 miles. Since many racers are willing to travel 2-4 hours to get to races, I would imagine we would all stay in KC if there was a decent spring RR series here?

Anyway, I digress; Kent Woermann, Greg Lohr, and Eric Finks (+ Lindsey) headed down in Eric's truck with trailer on Saturday morning to pre-ride the course. Thanks Eric for driving! Kent and I did the 1/2 race while Greg and Eric racing in the 3s. The weather was awesome all weekend. Sunny and in the 70s both days.

The racing was really aggressive from the start. There were about 40 guys in the race and lots of strong riders in the field. Mercy was the largest team there and Tradewind was the most aggressive, which was not surprising. I tried to get into some breaks on the first two laps but really spent too much energy doing this. Brian Jenson, Joe Schmalz, and a Park Place rider ended up getting away on the second lap and had a pretty good gap by the end of the second lap.

I ended up cramping up on the third time up the Hell's Kitchen climb and had to fall back into a chase group. Fortunately, we were able to get back up to the main field (none of my doing) just prior to one of the big descents on the day. Everything came together shortly after and the racing started to get aggressive again. I knew the writing was on the wall but tried to just hang with the group as long as I could. Up the last climb I was in a serious world of hurt as the cramping was now in both legs. Once over the top I did catch on to the very back end of a small group and we had a nice cool down to the finish line.

I also hit 55mph on a descent which may be my new PR for top speed.

Definitely a fun time, next race is the NWA Spring Classic this weekend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Frozen Waffles

Headed to Springfield for our team event the Frozen Waffle Road Race. I met up with the KC St. John's crew (Adam Miller, Brian Bradley, Jeremy Pych) and Greg Lohr in Lee's Summit in the wee hours of the morning to make the drive in the Miller-mobile (JB headed south Sat night). Arriving at the course we saw the finishing climb and also noted a good headwind along the S/F stretch. The course was great, mostly rolling with two climbs and one pretty fast descent.

Upon arrival at the course we helped set up, got a course preview from DS Sean, and came up with a game plan. Jelly Belly rider Brad Huff was in town, so we decided optimally Cale and I would try to get in a break with Brad. I also got to officially meet the rest of the St John's team. I had raced against most of them before by not really been officially introduced.

There were 21 starters and St. John's made up about a third of the field, so we definitely had the numbers to our advantage. Immediately off the start, Cale attacked, but no one went with him. So Brian Bradley bridged up and they spent the first half of the lap off the front. Brad had gone to the front of the chase, and a few more riders went up to help with the chase. About when Brian and Cale were coming back to the field, Brad put in a little surge and gapped himself from the rest of us. I immediately jumped to his wheel and Cale followed and we were clear. By the hill near the finish we were nearly out of sight.

I was not feeling very good about my chances of staying in the group at that point. My legs were feeling pretty heavy from good rides on Friday and Saturday, but I tried to contribute and eat and drink a lot early. I'm pretty sure Brad pulled for more than half of the time, and Cale and I each about 25%. We were going along pretty good. And fortunately we took the climbs pretty easy. I'm pretty sure that saved me. We were also in a very good rhythm, so that made it much easier as well. Both Cale and Brad knew the course very well so they guided us into really taking advantage of the course.

On the end of the third lap, Brad went to get another bottle in the feed zone (riding off into the grass and getting it himself) while Cale and I spun and got to eat. Then we got back to it. On the last lap, Brad put in a dig on the first climb of the lap that dropped Cale and nearly dropped me as well. I got back on and sat in till the descent, where I pulled too hard down the hill. Brad gave me some advice about not pulling too hard down the descents, because otherwise he could easily jump me and I'd be done.

After we made it through the back side of the course, there was another descent, where I again pulled too hard, so Brad jumped and that was the race. Lesson learned.

Cale came in for third and Brian took the sprint out of the reduced pack. So overall it was a great day for the team. I learned a lot from Brad during the race, so that will hopefully pay off soon. The team put on an excellent event and I'm super excited about the rest of the season. We also picked up our team Specialized gear and bikes. The bikes look pretty awesome.