Friday, May 30, 2008

Snakes, Speedbumps, Snowfencing

I'm starting to find that the best place for me to update this blog is when I'm on the road. When I'm home there's always something going on that distracts me from finishing a post. I've raced mostly non-stop since the Joe Martin Stage Race. And Then Tour of Arkansas, And Then all the Quad Cities races over Memorial Day weekend. And Then the Tulsa Tough Races.

Snake Alley Criterium

For all the times I've done this race, it's always been epic. Of the 100 or so starters, everyone has a story to tell of something that happened to them and only them. For anyone who has never been there, click here.

The hard part is the uphill, but the fun/ scary part is the downhill. Downtown roads, 3 off camber corners, and if you do it right, 38-42mph. I found myself at the back of the front group 0f 35-40 early in the race. From there, you can see and experience the carnage. This large group basically exploded. Guys ride up the snake, only to pull off the course and puke or hang on their handlebars in defeat. Others drop chains, blow tires, or just blow up.

The beginning 15 laps were spent just riding hard and positioning myself to do well. Get in a group, jump to the next group. Ride so hard you're cross eyed. Rest on the downhill. Repeat.

With about 4-5 laps to go, Myself, Shadd, and Derek are in a small group sprinting for 9th place. I've always dreamed of a Top 10 placing in this race for myself, but results for the team are equally important. With 3 laps to go, Shadd takes a flyer as I keep the rest of our group from giving chase. Nearly works, but alas, Sean Bradley (Current US Amateur Road Champion) nails back the move and we're left to "field sprint" for 9th. In a group like this, with the team mates I have I decided to lead out the sprint starting on the Snake. Ride up it hard, bomb the downhill and hit it full gas until Shadd or Derek come around. It works and Derek ends up finishing 9th myself 15th and Shadd 16th. Not bad. A little bittersweet for me, but not bad for the team.

Melon City Criterium:
Uphill, hairpin, straight, turn, downhill, Speedbump, Uphill. That's pretty much how the whole race went. We didn't go that fast and everyone was still falling apart in the heat. I can't wait until Tulsa (I'm here now but play along). I was in one good move of 12 with Steve and Shadd making us with 3 of 12 which is great odds for us. But that one didn't work, mostly because of my apparent hearing problem. In the end I started flailing with about 3 laps to go. I just couldn't get up the hill. I thought: Is my wheel out of true, are my tires flat, are my brakes on? Nope. I was just sucking. Maybe it's just the racing the last few weeks. Maybe I just sucked. Both are entirely possible.

Rock Island Criterium: (Adam 4- Rock Island 5)
I've started this race 9 times and have crashed out of it 5 times, with 2 hospital visits. Needless to say, this isn't really one of my favorite races.

I started in the back, again. I kind of like starting in the back now. It makes you move up and it's not really that hard to do so why not?

I covered a few moves, but wasn't really in position very often. I'm not really sure why. Maybe I'm a bit gun shy, maybe it was an off day. I never really was gassed, just not really in the moment. In the end, when it got dicey, I made the decision that I just wanted to finish the race and that's exactly what I did. Drift to the back and ride in. It's strange. I was happy to finish and not fall down, again. But on the other hand, I shouldn't be happy to just finish. Maybe next year, I can make it to the 50% mark. Here's some footage of the sprint:
The Finish.