Friday: easy hour spin in the morning. Tony and I took the bike path out to the crit course for a couple laps. On the way there and on the way back, we saw a nutria–a semi aquatic rodent the size of a very fat cat. I’m writing about nutria for a class, so we took a moment to observe the invasive species in its natural environment. We also saw a rabbit.
The trip over to Moscow Idaho took approximately between 9 and 29 hours. The cargo van, which Tony and I drove again this weekend, decided to stop in Hood River for a quick 30 minutes spin to freshen up our legs. The rest of the team didn’t want to stop, and headed on to Idaho without us. About 15 minutes into the ride, Tony’s brand new chain broke, foreshadowing the mechanicals of the race to come.
We all woke up the next morning to sun. The road race started at 9AM, and did three laps for a total of 70 miles. My legs, like they have been for every race the past two months, were trashed from training earlier in the week. We went up the first hill at what felt like a brutal pace. My quads were almost non existent and I feared that I might actually get dropped if this was to be the pace for the next 65 miles. I rode near the front nonetheless.
10 miles later, by the time I was feeling good, I flatted as we went over some rough train tracks. I pulled off the road, jumped off the bike, and ran to the wheel car (which had stopped about 50 feet behind me for some reason). I grabbed a wheel from the back of the car after sorting through the tangled mess of 9 speed and 10 speed wheels before finding one that I thought would work. I ran back to my bike and tried to insert it, but it wouldn’t fit. A re-occuring problem. haha. So I ran back and grabbed another wheel–all the while the clueless wheel guy just running around behind me, not doing anything helpful in particular. This second wheel went in ok and I sprinted off to catch the pack.
About 5 minutes later, I noticed that the wheel was rubbing on my chainstay and breaks. I got off the bike, re-inserted the wheel, and opened my breaks. It helped, but I could hear the wheel rubbing on my frame for the rest of the race. Poor cervelo R3. There there, the mean replacement wheel won’t hurt you anymore. It’s ok now. It’s ok.
By the time I got back on the bike, I had lost 3 or 4 minutes to the pack and was certain that my effort to catch back on would be hopeless. I began riding hard anyways. After slowing down momentarily , thinking I was lost and almost taking a wrong turn, I came around a slight bend to a long straight away and saw the peloton way up the road. I saw them for only and instant, but it gave me hope.
For the next 18 miles, I rode at my max. I made up a lot of time, but I wasn’t sure if I could close the final little bit of distance. In hindsight, I think I could have. With the gap at about 45 seconds or less, I saw Takuya driving a car. He had been dropped on the first lap and was now handing out water in the feed zone on the main climb. He offered me water, but I declined, saying “No thanks. But I could use a motor pace, though.” To my surprise, a minute later, he passed me slow enough so that I could hop in the draft. The first mile was pretty rough. He was too cautious and would pull ahead of me if I got within 15 feet of the car. But he got used to it during the second mile, and I got right up behind the car, about 3 feet away from the bumper. We closed the final gap at last and I made it back into what was left of the peloton. A six man break had gotten away from the field while I was gone and it now had multiple minutes on us.
With the first 6 places being taken, I decided to just attack as much as possible with the hope that the pack would get tired of chasing and let me go. And if that didn’t happen (which it didn’t) then at least I would get a good workout and make them all suffer in the process.
I took 6th in the pack sprint (12th overall) but was relegated to 20th place. The officials came over to talk to me and I thought I was in trouble for crossing the yellow line at the 1K mark. But the penalty was for motor pacing. “But I got a flat tire,” I jokingly argued. When that didn’t work I tried another one, “Well, I only motorpaced for 2 out of 20 miles.” They laughed.
David Kuhns took 6th in the race and Peter took 9th, so we weren’t out of the points by any means.
We ate at a pasta feed with all the teams after the RR. Later that evening was the TTT.
Our TTT was rough on Peter and Takuya, who didn’t have any TT bars. Takuya gave some good pulls before getting dropped, then it was up to David, Peter, and myself. David and I pulled the entire time as Peter, riding his 90 pound steel Surely winter training bike, suffered like a beaten dog.
It was sunny again on sunday. The crit was hard and fast, full of corners. The short course didn’t suit me well. Not that any crit does.
I couldn’t get off the back for the first 15 minutes of the crit, and the yo-yo effect just about killed me. David Heritage yelled at me from the crowd to “Move up move up move up Kennett!” I angrily replied, “I would if I fucking could!” Apparently the entire crowd all laughed at my frustration. During crits, my lungs and heart don’t give out, the problem lies in my legs. I just can’t see to sprint well unless everyone else is tired.
Luckily that happened 15 minutes into the race and I was able to finally get off the back. I attacked hard for the rest of the race but nothing stuck. I found myself a little too far back in the pack coming into the final lap. I moved up a few places on the 90 degree downhill corner, right as a Whitman rider’s wheel went out from under him. He went down HARD, from what I saw out of the corner of my eye. But the sound of him cracking against the pavement was the real sickening thing. But there was no time to think about that or his trip to the hospital, the finish was coming up in half a lap.
I took 8th, David took 9th, and Takuya surprised us all and sprinted to 5th.
Karey won her crit.
Check out Ivar’s report of the men’s B races once he posts, which should be soon.
We hung around for the awards ceremony afterwards and went to Zipp’s for some low budget burgers. Then the long drive commenced. I got into bed at 12:40 AM. Class the next morning. It was a great (hard) week of training and a fun race. I continually surprise myself by having legs to race well on the weekends after the intense training during the week. I’m eager to see what I can do when my legs feel good for once. (Gilad: that doesn’t mean I want an off week this week, damn it.)