Sunday, April 18, 2010
This is the photo of me and Cassidy after getting home having completed the longest, hardest, road race I've ever done. The race was 90 miles with 5000+ft of vertical ascent, taking me 4hrs and 9 minutes to complete. I couldn't be happier with the results and honestly don't really know what to say.
I was nervous going into this race, as this is my first season racing as a Cat 2 in the Pro/1/2 category. Plus, I'm still getting the hang of road riding and the group tactics involved. As a 15+ year mountain biker, many of the 'rules' don't always make sense. The fact that I did well today speaks volumes for the cycling scene in Columbia, Missouri because it is the many veterans who have shown me the ropes and always have had encouraging critiques and advice about positioning myself in the group, working in a break, riding in the wind, energy conservation, and riding as a member of a team. Josh Johnson is always super nice and constructive. Pam Hinton and Nate Means are always awesome examples of riding smart and smooth. Shottler is a good example of how to attack and hardly ever getting caught. When around, Luke Musselman has good advice. Tracy helped me think about riding smooth. Larry has really good racing advice about team tactics and how to chase down breaks. Tom Brinker helped me get my bike fit down and resolve some knee troubles. Karl Kimbel and Josh Carrol both help me keep my bike rolling. And most of all, Dave Henderson and Ethan Froese are great teachers and have been nothing but supportive this past winter and during the race yesterday. (i really hope I'm not forgetting anyone from columbia)
Ok, that was probably excessive 'thanks' for a 4th place finish in a small Missouri road race, but I genuinely mean it and want to lay all of that out there.
Me with my cliff bar tumor in my cheek:
In the first few miles of the race, I managed to make a 7 man break which contained the a guy I thought was in second place (later identified as Bill Stolte who I've now been informed was not in second place) and another guy in the top 10 of the omnium, Aaron Pool. My teamate Larry and I were both there and feeling good having not raced the previous day. Our job was to hang in the break and hope that our teamate in 3rd place, Dave Henderson could bridge up to us. Before the race began, Dave had told me that he thought first (Austin Allison) and second would both be really strong and that he didn't have high hopes of gaining enough points on either to make it into the top 2 spots. That was nice, because it allowed Larry and I to work for the break and me to be able to snag some of the KOM points at the end of each of the 3 laps. The break worked well together during the first lap and were told that our lead was 2 minutes about 15 miles in and 3 minutes 25 miles in. At the beginning of lap 2, the leader of the race joined our break and things got a little weird for a while. Larry and I debated about what to do and Bill definitely shut-down his pulling efforts. For awhile, I thought we were going to get caught because we slowed significantly. But eventually, Bill launched an attack and our group starting chasing. A few minutes in to our chase and a little over half way through lap 2, Austin flatted. At around the same time, Larry bridged up to Bill leaving myself and 3 other guys in the chase (Devin Clark, Aaron Pool, and a guy from St Johns Mercy). Larry eventually hit a wall and fell off, leaving Bill up the road, into a headwind all-by-his-lonesome and our group keeping him comfortably in sight.
Coming through town between laps 2 and 3, I still felt really good. Aaron and I hammered it up a really steep climb in town and at the start of lap three, found that Devin and St John's had fallen off. It became clear that Aaron had been playing it smart all race and had a ton of energy left. We started trading steady 30 second pulls and were gaining on Bill. It was probably around mile 68 or 70 that the efforts really started taking a toll on me. I told Aaron I couldn't hold it and fell off. Luckily, Devin Clark was close behind and he and I fought the pain and finished the last 20 miles together...keeping Aaron and Bill in sight. At the end, Devin and I sprinted for the line and he had me by a bike length.
That's about it for 2010 Hermann! Super hard and fun day, can't wait for next year!