I’ve traveled back to the States for one last race with Hagens Berman for the 2011 season. I had high hopes for today–a hilly circuit race in Souderton, Pensylvania (just north of Philly). It was a course suited to my strengths and reminiscent of a kermess/interclub. The final UCI and NRC race of the year, Univest Grand Prix has been on my mind for quite a while. Spoiler alert: I didn’t win!
It was a long voyage to get here, spanning two full days of, trains, flying, shuttle buses, and driving, but I made it safe and sound to the warm, muggy East Coast in high spirits and ready to crush some fellow American legs. I hate to start this next sentence with this word I’ve chosen, but I have to do it. Unfortunately, for what ever reason, I did not have it in me to pull out a good result today. My best guess as to why that is, is that I’m still fighting a cold. I hate to use an excuse like that and I was really hoping I’d be able to write a positive race report for once, but…whatever. The race gods decided to keep me down today. Surely they’re saving up my big victory for something soon though. The race is done and over with and there’s nothing to do now but continue looking towards the future. Positivity is my middle name!
I felt OK in the race until half way through when I began lagging a bit. My legs just didn’t want to turn over like they were supposed to and no matter how much I willed them to do so, they didn’t have it in the end. The pack had been whittled down to 40 riders or less with half a lap to go, while three guys made a late race attack to steal the podium. I struggled up the final climb and pretty much just coasted through the finish line since there was no where to go in the final 300 meters of downhill before the short, 100 meter riser to the finish line. My positioning and race tactics were not a problem today whatsoever. If anything, I was too attentive for the first 3/4ths of the race and spent too much time being smart! My forte usually doesn’t lie in positioning, cornering, chopping in corners, and conservative race tactics, but today I realized I had to rely on them if I wanted to have a chance at the finish (plus my brain decided to be intelligent today). I threw in a few attacks mid-race on the climbs, nothing too serious though. I mainly followed wheels and maintained a top 20-30 position throughout the 17 laps. In the end I took 25th, which sucks considering I thought and knew I was capable of a top 10 here. With the way I’ve been riding the past month, I knew if I had a good day this would be possible.
Tomorrow is the crit. Not sure how my body is going to respond to the hard efforts today. I’m hoping my immune system holds it together and doesn’t take a nose dive because I’ve still got some fight left in my noggin.
Team-wise, we actually had a very good showing today. Gabe took second in the KOM, which unfortunately doesn’t award him any money, but is still a great achievement, and Ian, Gabe, and I all finished in the lead group taking 17th, 29th, and 25th respectively. Not too shabby for just an “amateur” team. I despise that word by the way. The only amateur thing about us is that we don’t get paid…which is actually the definition of an amateur. Soooo, in that case my contempt doesn’t make any sense. Anyways, Cody, Dan, and Chris also had good races, with Chris and Dan both making good comebacks after some serious injuries. Chris, who had a life-threatening head injury in June during Mt. Hood, even crashed today, got back up, and continued racing! Nerves of steal. Over and out.
PS I WASTED you in our blogging race today, Ian! Take that!