Eugene Roubaix: Chris “iron legs” Swan crushed the six man breakaway in a humbling and humiliating sprint that left his breakaway companions sobbing like babies.
The race didn’t go as well for me, but it was great seeing Chris win, which was our team’s first victory of the year (the men’s cat 1/2 team). I chased down breaks during the first couple laps, but nothing was really sticking for long, other than Mark Blackwelder’s long solo move that got away on lap 1. I felt strong on the gravel section, which wasn’t nearly as much of a race-deciding factor as I thought it would be, and I also felt good on the little steep climb after the gravel section. I was up at the front going over the climb the first two times, then I made a fatal mistake on the third time up. The pace was super slow heading into the climb, and I found myself near the back of the pack, lollygaging next to Nick. Nobody was doing much, and I figured it wasn’t as necessary as I thought to be up near the front on the gravel and short hill. But that was even less true than my front wheel, and that’s exactly when five guys got off the front (including Chris) and that was game over, since all the strong teams were represented and the break was made up of the strongest guys in the race. They quickly got time on the field, where only a few team-less guys were chasing, and Therapeutics Associates. I made a few moves on lap four and five when the pace started slowing down as the chasers realized their attempts were futile. But trying to get off the front by myself wasn’t going to happen, so I started resting up for the sprint.
With a mile or so to go, I heard the sonic boom of Chris storming the finish line in first place, which gave me some motivation to take the rest of the field in the same manor. Instead of attacking with 800 meters to go on the gravel section, which had been my plan, I decided to keep a good position near the front and just sprint it out, which worked and I took the field sprint for 7th place. Now the next thing I’m going to tell you is very, very, extremely important, and also very true: I pooped five times yesterday. That’s a lot of pooping!! And guess what? I pooped six times today!! Can you believe it? Because I sure can’t. I attribute today’s toilet success to some delicious sweet potatoes and kale that Zach Winter cooked up for me last night. But yesterday’s 5Xpoo was a mystery to me. I guess it was just all the pasta I ate the day before, but who knows. Maybe my digestive system was just doing some spring cleaning. You know, mopping out that old salami sandwich I ate back in January. Disposing of one of many bowls of oats eaten in the past six months that never quite left my small intestine. Squeezing out the leftover’s from Thanksgiving that had been crusted onto the side of my stomach the past months.
After the race yesterday I helped stop cars at an intersection for some other fields with Erich W., where I got to watch my brother, Galen, race with the cat 4’s and 5’s. And after a burrito with my family, who came down to watch Galen and I race, I drove down to Ashland with Jim, Chris, Karey, and Lisa to stay at Zach’s house.
Today was hot and played a big factor in the race. None of use were used to the heat, and I’m confident that everyone took a beating just from being out under the sun all day.
The field was extremely small for this year’s Table Rock RR. (Why didn’t all you guys come down for this race? It’s an awesome course, good prize money, and it’s Oregon cup points!). Because both the cat 1/2 field and the 3 fields were so small, they were combined. I quickly got a flat within the first mile of the race, but had plenty of time to get back on with Mike and Jim there to help in case someone attacked. But the pace was slow until we got to the two mile climb, which is not as steep as I remember. I attacked once on it, was caught, and just sat in the rest of the way up. It wasn’t really steep enough to get a break on this year.
I attacked again on the short and much steeper finish climb a while later and got off the front with Chris and two Therapeutics guys on my wheel, but we were reeled in by a still-fresh field by the bottom of the hill a few miles later. Not much happened for the rest of the lap, other than going really slow. Kenji did some work on the front to keep the pace fast enough so that we didn’t fall over, but by this point I’m guessing people were realizing that the heat was going to be a bit more draining than they thought it would be and weren’t very motivated to do much work off the front.
We went up the long hill (two-miler) faster on lap two, but not fast enough to get a breakaway going. Although on the downhill after the two mile climb the guy from California who did all the pulling up the long hill (I forgot his name) got away as the field slowed to a crawl again. He built up time and was soon almost out of sight a few miles later.
Leading into the steep climb at the finish, Chris jumped and held a hard pace up the first couple hundred meters. From there, I attacked and got a gap at the top, slowed down a bit to let Paul B. catch on to my wheel, then started down the descent with a ten second gap or less. We caught the guy from California pretty quickly and the three of us began working together, but it was apparent that both of them were suffering something hard core. The heat had zapped them. They hung onto my wheel the majority of that lap, and the guy from California popped when we got back around the course on the steep climb. From there it was just Paul and I to the finish, building up a gap of 3 minutes by the end. With 500 meters to go on the steep hill, Paul said goodbye as I pulled ahead. He didn’t contest the finish because I did all of the pulling, somewhat similar to how I earned my second place in this race last year with Zach Winter doing a lot of the work.
I watched the finish of the rest of the field a few minutes later, and was not surprised one bit when Chris powered up the climb easily, with a good little gap on the next guy to earn third place. Boo a yeah. A boo yeah. We never went to Dairy Queen on the way back to Eugene for dipped cones though, which was very upsetting. And to that I say boo, but no yeah.