Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a pretty good month

the close of august wraps up three consecutive weekends of long rides, strong races, and a couple of W's for myself and the midtown direct cycling team.

it started with a ride from waldo to oakridge via cascade lakes hwy, bend, sisters, hwy 242, mckenzie bridge, and the aufterheide. i froze my butt off in the morning, baked in the days, and did a nice little double of 121 miles the first day and 90 the second, to be picked up after lunch on sunday.
not to miss an opportunity, the very next weekend lisa and i joined forces for the co-motion tandem stage race - involving an 80 mile road race on the brownsville loop, the 24k coburg tt, and a greenhill tandem crit.

we put the hurt on in the road race when we hit gap road, and got off with the shepherds and the nick/dan combo from hutch's. the lead built up to be pretty big and when we hit marcola the shepherds turned the screws again and we lost nick and dan. we rotated through all the way until the almost the last 1k on mckenzie view, where lisa and i took the long sprint with a surge from 500-600m or so out.

we had enough of a gap not to worry about the others in the tt, where we opened up the lead to almost a minute, then defended successfully in the crit for a sweet win.

last but not least, the eugene celebration stage race went down this past weekend. we brought a full squad of 6 with the aim of repeating rob english's win from last year - and since this course was tt heavy, it seemed like a good deal.

the mcbeth prologue was solid as midtown took 1-4, with rob taking the lead convincingly.

in the road race, we had a really aggressive first lap. the plan was to put guys on anything that moved and not to work - our two little climbers were 2nd and 4th but staring at a 24k tt, and rob and i were pretty well positioned for the overall. so we covered a lot of moves and it went pretty hard.

towards the end of the first lap on crow road, i hit a rock on the left and flatted my rear tire. marc stopped with me and had his wheel out instantly, we changed it and he pushed me off. i chased as hard as i could until i caught on just before sprinters - marc almost made it back, but on spencer creek it went ballistic again and he lost us. i had just barely made it in time. marc was perfectly selfless and made all the difference - i owe him and the other guys everything after that one.

the second lap was pretty aggressive too, but i tried to stay sheltered and recover as much as possible. on territorial the speeds picked up , and little groups kept taking fliers. then, just after briggs, a really solid group of 3 went off including a gc danger from washington named phil (46" back on rob 17" on me at the time). their gap got kind of big - maybe 20"+ - and then two more pairs went with some strong guys including my teammate david marking them.

as we were strung out and almost single file after doane road, going into the last piece of territorial, i knew that we had to get another guy on that break or bring it back - either rob or myself. i moved along the left side of the pack using the draft such as it was, and then hit it hard and slingshot right off the front to chase. i had it in the 53x13 and sat right on the nose of the saddle just giving it everything i had, again, and made contact with the four up the road right at the wolf creek turn. i sat on for less than a minute and started working with them until we caught the group of 3 ahead of us.

at this point david and i were in a bit of a pickle. if we drove the break and got a big gap, i would take the lead but i didn't know if i could beat phil in the tt or hold the lead. in that case, i could end up 2nd but we could lose the race. if we got caught, at least rob would still lead the overall and probably win the tt too, so that was good, but then we would miss out on stage placings and would have to cover more dangerous moves late in the game. so we pulled through but not enough to drive it hard.

by the last 15k it was clear we 7 would be all alone for sure, though the pack started to close a little, and on pine grove i knew i had to do something. i thought that i could at least get rid of some of the baggage on sprinters. i hit out on the hill and was alone - no-one did anything to try to follow me. i put my head down and tt'ed for all i was worth in my 3rd big effort of the day, and by 1k to go was pretty sure i had it. at 500m i knew it and at 100m i zipped up my jersey, took a last look behind, kicked it once more and then sat up to soft-pedal across with my arms held high and fists clenched.

7 seconds later the 6 break away companions sprinted for 2nd, and less than a minute later the pack charged hard across the line, with rob having gotten a perfect armchair ride for the last 40 miles.

the win put me in the GC lead overnight, but it was always going to be short lived as the margins were small and i was pretty wasted.

rob took the tt convincingly, grabbed the lead again, and i dropped to 4th with blown legs.

we defended in the crit despite a big crash, and another season is in the books.