Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Springing into action..

Date: 7/15/08
Course: 22 mile loop/ 3 laps * 66 miles
Category: Elite 3
Field: maybe 50
Teammates: Hendrik, Steve
Place: 6th/ 22.5 mph avg speed

I did my home work for this event. I pre-rode the course earlier in the week and made sure to have my bike, food/ hydration needs and equipment dialed. Hendrik, Steve and I drove out together. The sky was a bit over cast but it was warming up quick. after getting our stuff together we assembled at the start line and we're off...

The first few climbs were not a big deal as everyone was finding there legs so to speak. The final downhill to Chino Valley had the worst pavement on the entire circuit and I rode on the front till we turned onto Chino valley. Things just rolled along for a while with a few guys taking fliers off the front but nothing serious.

I tried to launch a breakaway w/ Phil (Strawberry) as he was eager to pick the pace up and I know him pretty well. It was a good attempt but the pack wouldn't let us go. Not soon after another break went and Steve got in it.

When they got caught the pace slowed again and Hendrik and I guess a Metromint guy took off. It looked good for a while but the group started chasing and brought them back.

On lap 2, up the second climb I guess Phil and Hendrik attacked to split the field and I was on the wrong side of the split! My legs were not with me and I had to ease up and hope I could get back on over the next few rollers before turning onto Chino V. again.

Well that didn't quite work, as the field kept the pace high and I was in full chase mode. I quickly picked up Steve and we organized to get back on. I was pretty sure the pack would sit up in the headwind and look at each other, which would give us a chance and it worked! I was pretty surprised. At that point I just sat in for a while and tried to let my legs recover.

3rd time over the climbs were better, I was feeling OK and the pace wasn't to high. Once over and back onto the rollers I knew I was in with a chance for a good finish. I still was in disbelief that I was even in the race at this point--after being dropped earlier. Somewhere along the way we lost Steve and it was down to Hendrik and I. We stayed close and in constant communication and worked well with the other guys.

There was still a break of 4? guys still up the road and we had about 1/2 lap to go (10 miles) and the group seemed content to let it go. I asked Hendrik if he felt OK and he responded--Yah. I was not sure if my legs were going to be good for the finale, so I decided to do some work at the front and see what happened. I lifted the pace and after a while guys started to pull through.

We got a good 12 or so man, rotating pace-line that lasted for a while. Good enough to reel the break within sight, with about 3-4 miles left to go. Funny thing it was then that my legs started to feel really good. I was in a good gear and rode away from the group up a false flat and bridged up to the break w/ hopes of re-organizing and taking off.

The guys were pretty tired and all sat up. So we were all back together onto Tomales Rd. It was strung out all the way and I was in 3rd wheel. We turned onto Spring Hill and guys started to look around. The pace was steady and you could feel the tension building for the finish. Once onto the final approach

Final approach....

We were spread out across the road. Hendrik and I were next to each other, on the front and talking about when to go. I wanted to go early with some speed and he wanted to wait till the base to pick it up. I waited and once we passed the feed-zone I attacked out of the saddle. The hill had a dip in it and my legs cramped a bit right there, so I tried to get into the 42 but the chain would not drop! At this point someone countered me, and the real race was on. I managed to spin for 10 sec, get my legs under control, pick the pace back up and as I was going over the top, put it back into the big ring and sprint for a 6th place finish very close to Hendrik, Phil and the Davis kids (18 yr old jr's).

Well 6th place might not seem like a big deal, but for me it's a turning point. The training plan I laid out is working and if all goes to plan it should have me in top form for the end of the road season and the ultimate goal--CX.


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