Friday, September 14, 2007

Long time, no talk!

Not that I believe anyone reads this, but I feel bad for those who have checked and realized I have not updated my blog for two weeks! Here goes:

So since Downer's Grove I have done two race weekends and traveled back to the Dirty Jerz for school. The first weekend was the Gateway Cup in St. Louis . . .

Friday night was a flat, open, FAST twilight crit that felt like motorpacing--BUT AT NIGHT. And this was my first race since my crashes at Downers. Great idea, eh? I was playing mind games the entire race, and when I got to the front to start the HART leadout with just over two laps left, I detected a lull and an ABD guy shot off solo. I went with him, and we had a good gap with 2 to go, then 1 to go, then o.5 to go! Unfortunately we were caught literally in the final corner, and I completely stopped pedaling after maxing my heart rate out at 182 (I haven't been over 180 the entire season!). Brent Hanlin, our resident fast man sprinter, got 4th behind Josh Carter, Dan Schmatz, and another dude--not bad!

Saturday's race was slightly disappointing--I was out top finisher in 11th. And I am NOT a sprinter! I hit the final corner behind Brian Jensen and Josh Carter, and then was passed by 9 other guys (that is right, I passed Jensen!) before hitting the finish after hundreds of meters of false-flat uphill. The race was pretty fun--the course is great--but I was mentally just not into going with breaks. Neither was HART. We were not represented in over half of the breaks, but things worked out for us when it all cam together with a few laps to go. Unfortunately, no one was on my wheel during the final lap so I could not lead anyone out. The next day would be payback!

Sunday's race, the Giro della Montogna, went through an amazing Italian neighborhood and included a sizable uphill before funneling into a narrow side-street after turn 3. I was feeling really good, and had been off solo for a couple laps after winning a $100 prime.

Towards the end of the race, with about 15 minutes left, Randy and two others were in a break up the road just a ways. I don't think anyone believed it would stay away, and it didn't. They were swallowed up on the last lap. However, only two were caught--Randy jumped from the break and won SOLO ahead of Dan's rip-roaring sprint! YES!

The final day was arduous--think bad pavement uphill stretch for 50% of the course, including 95 degree weather and bright sun. I felt like I was racing in a sauna. After going for some primes and seeing that Paul, Randy, and Nate were feeling better than I was, I decided to stick it out and just try to be where people needed me. Unfortunately, in the confusion of Randy's crash after turn 1 where he rolled over the top of an ABD guy (!!!), Brian Jensen got off the front with the others and drove it. We chased, Mercy chased, and the gap stuck--those guys were gone. However, after patrolling the front towards the end of the race, Paul got off with one other guy (racing for 5th and 6th) and they held a small gap that continued to increase. Then another guy shot up the right side on the long uphill, and I jumped on his wheel. We still had 8 laps to go, and I though this would just end like Friday's disheartening catch in the final turn, not to mention I didn't want to catch Paul and his compatriot, so I pulled at 85% for the first couple of laps. Then, with two laps left, we still had a 20 second gap, and I knew we were going to do it! On the last lap, he pulled up the hill and I jumped him right at the top, good enough to solo in for 7th after Paul took 6th.

Solid end to a solid weekend--we wanted a stage and we got it!

After Gateway, I had an excellent drive home with my folks (both of whom were in attendance this weekend) and Dave Lippold, one of my good cycling buddies whom I have known since my first days on a bike. Then I packed and tied up loose ends before a nice dinner and Tuesday Night Worlds followed by a flight to Newark Wednesday morning. That brings me to Univest!

What a waste of an amazing course and field!!! I had crashed at Nick Bennette's place for a couple days before heading to Mike Chauner's awesome farm in Pennsylvania to race for his development team, PA Lightning.

Unfortunately I would not call Univest a race--it was more like a fast group ride that was content to have a teammate (even if said teammate was not even a good rider on the team and had no chance at a podium) in the break that would eventually get almost 10 minutes. After the field took a wrong turn (where I took the right turn, doubled back the wrong way, then realized I was right in the first place!), we basically went tempo for the remainder of the European-style circuit through eastern PA. Then we were all time cut at the entrance to the finishing circuits. Sweet.

Sunday's race was definitely NOT a group ride! It was a hot, fast, technical, relentless course through Doylestown, PA with the entire town out in their lawns cheering for us. Peter Horn and I were the only PA Lightning guys left in the race 30 minutes in, so even though my legs felt like rubber after getting in breaks the first few laps, I stuck it out. Peter crashed hard early on, but he managed to get back in and stay in a much better position than I was in--I basically fought the accordion the entire day. My strategy for staying in the race was to pretend that each lap was my last, and before I knew it, I was feeling good and there were only a few laps left! I am not a bunch sprinter, but I can fight for position pretty well when I have the legs. Unfortuantely I did not have the legs, and I managed a mediocre position on the last lap to come in 28th out of just over 100 guys. The field was very high quality, with two full Euro teams, including Sparkasse, and Tecos, a good Mexican team, not to mention Slipstream, Sierra Nevada, Kelly Benefits, Nerac, Colavita, and a host of other top riders--not bad, considering I was going to pull out before the halfway point!

Now I am back at school and I just got completely moved in--I LOVE MY SINGLE! Check out some pics below. Now I am just relaxing and getting ready for classes on Monday before heading to Germany in 8 days! SO PSYCHED!

(The white box with a black electrical tape-Smiley on it is my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine--it is apparently a fire hazard and the University will [and has] confiscated it!)

(There is a coffee table in the mail that should go right in front of the enteratinment center on the right.)

(My bike is just in my room temporarily--we have a bike room in the university gym)


No comments: