Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tour of KC: What goes around comes around.....

Brian Jensen: "He's world class and doesn't even know it." Those were the words spoken by a very good bike racer known and admired by many.

Pete Grieg has done a great job with this event over the years. I remember racing it every year since my first year racing as a junior. Since then it's been one of my favorites, bar none. The races are all designed, coincidentally or not, so that the strongest, toughest bike racer is able to win. Hilly, technical and just plain hard are the name of the game in this series. The crowds are rowdy and it's close to home so I get to sleep in my own bed.

Difficult parcors play right into the hands of the strongmen and this is the backyard of the now 5 time defending champion Brian Jensen. Brian made us all look like amateurs, this last weekend. It seemed as though he was able to just ride away at will. Although, he was tired as he admitted to me a few days later. This means he is human and he does have limits.... i.e. hope for anyone racing against him.

A few months ago I was able to write about how the HRRC/ Trek Stores team was able to out maneuver Brian at the Hillsboro Roubaix Road Race. That was some fine riding by everyone on the team and Brian handled the defeat at the hands of his former teammates with grace. I think the most important reason I savored the moment was that I knew, at some point, the tables would turn and we would be the ones watching Brian on the top step of the podium. That's exactly what happened at ToKC.

We tried a few different things to win the stages, but the bottom line was that Brian Jensen deserves to be the 5 time defending champion. He won all three stages in style and not once did he have to sprint more than one other person to win a stage. Incredible.

The big surprise of the weekend came in the form of Chris Hall. Chris has been racing for a few years and has only recently started to reach his potential. Chris was the only other person to hang onto Brian in Saturdays Cliff Drive Classic- the hardest 50 mile race in all of America. Not once have I ever wished that the race was longer. Chris got a second place this day, which may be a big coming out party for him. We'll see......