Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hours in the heat lead to a near miss in the Tour of Kansas City

This has been a pretty busy couple of weeks! I will start from the beginning . . .

I finished up work in Boulder, Colorado (I was doing an internship with Ball Aerospace) and packed all of my things into the big Jeep. Mind you, said Jeep has no air conditioning. And the Midwest just happened to be going through an incredibly bad heat wave.

I got up extra early on Friday, August 10th to go meet my teammates Randy Reichardt and Nate Buyon at Spruce Coffee Shop for our trip to Kansas City. The Tour of Kansas City, one of my favorite races, had been expanded to three days, with a new Friday night criterium at 8:30. And yes, we were going to drive for 9 hours to get there, by God.

After keeping my boat-like vehicle between the white lines for hours, with all the windows down, at around 80 miles per hour (although I can't tell because the speedometer is so far off due to the outrageously large tires), we stopped for some pre-race nutrition at McDonalds. It was Nate's idea.

I proceeded to pour water on myself and drive the rest of the way in my boxers. Hey, it was over 100 degrees without the 100% humidity factored in!

We got a nice parking spot at the course, warmed up, and then set off some fireworks. Randy and I were extremely active from the gun, and used brute force to split a group of five off the front--with both of us in it! My SRM had stopped working two days prior, so I don't have any hard numbers to give, but we were pushing on the pedals like the devil himself was chasing us through the shadows.

The break worked well, and after dropping one man we were down to a four-man break: me, Randy, the surprisingly strong Dewey Dickey, and the perennial favorite and defending champion of the last year's Tour of Kansas City, Brian Jensen. Jensen attacked hard up the finishing hill to start the final lap, and I gave everything to keep the gap down to about 30 feet. I bridged those 30 feet through the first turn, a treacherous downhill, off-camber, 40mph screamer. I sat on Brian the rest of the lap, and he had to pull me because Randy was charging hard from behind. I was pretty much blown, but I jumped and gave everything I had on the final time up the finishing hill. I was ahead by two bike lengths with 50 meters to go, then one, then a wheel, then Brian nipped me by inches at the finish!

So close I could taste it!

I am very happy with my result, because Brian is an incredibly strong rider--he was just a little bit faster, and I know we both gave everything for the win.

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