A Dan Harm Weekend

For those of you who don’t know Dan Harm, he’s a bike racer who also does other things. Like hiking, building trails in the mountains, chopping wood, bike touring, weight training?, etc. I decided to do other things a few days ago too: a one-night back pack trip with my roommate, Kim. I rode up to Estes Park in the mountains, we hiked, then the next day I rode home. This wasn’t a true Dan Harm adventure though, because the ride there was only 3.5 hours and our total hiking distance was only 13 or 14 miles, but it’s mid race season and my wise guru coach Sim Jinson wouldn’t want me doing anything too extreme.

I can’t be bothered to flip this right side up. This is the dirt section at the top of Magnolia, a nice hard climb out of Boulder.

Peak to Peak highway.

Just your basic bullshit church-castle on the side of the road up at 9,000 ft or so.

Basic bullshit 14,000 ft mountain scenery.

Combination Taco Bell and KFC. It was only a 65 mile ride but had over 9k feet of climbing. And everyone knows that the elevation gain to burrito ratio is three to one. At least.

Back when I was a kid bean burritos were like 69 cents. Now they’re a buck o’ five! The same price as Freedom! Thanks for nothing Iraq war, now our burritos are freaking expensive AND the rest of the world hates us even more.

This Taco bell has certainly had some upset customers too. Before the ride I googled it to find out where it was. My only complaint was that they had the hot sauce behind the counter and you had to ask for it, and I had to ask three time for the guy working there to give me enough fire sauce. But here’s the google reviews. Not pretty!

I took a nap in a park while I waited for Kim to arrive.

$20 parking fee and $15 overnight permit?? No thanks. Jeeze we Kim already paid $8 for a map!! How about we and find a spot way in the woods to camp where no ranger will venture, park in a gravel pull out, and walk on the road to the trail head. And lucky us, some guy ended up giving us a lift in the back of his truck for the last 0.01 miles.

The trail we took had lots of trees on it. I think they fell the night before.

And lots of snow.

But no people!

After walking around for one hour trying to find a spot that was level and didn’t have any snow, we found our camp site near a lake. And then it got cold. And then I got hungry. And then I cursed Kim for forgetting the damn cracker trail mix!

I told Kim we shouldn’t have a fire because it’s illegal and illegal things are bad to do and I always obey the law, but she wouldn’t listen to me and started one anyways. And burnt her mittens.

The lake the next morning. It was too cold to go swimming.

We took a longer way back to the car and things turned sepia for a moment.

And then things turned REALLY old timey sepia.

And then we jumped in an extremely cold river and laid on a rock for like three days, which we both decided was not nearly long enough and within a few more hours I was on my bike and Kim was driving to work. My legs felt like shit.

Kim’s drive home

Funny raccoon jokes

I decided to make some jokes about raccoons because I like raccoons and they’re funny animals.  So I sat down and wrote a blog post about them, putting a lot of thought into each joke and explaining why some of the more complicated jokes are funny, just in case you don’t get them.  Here they are:

Q: Why did the raccoon cross the street?
A: To get to Fred Meyers to buy some dish detergent.  (Because raccoons like to wash their food. Although, it’s actually a myth that they’re washing it; they’re really just softening it to make it easier to eat).

Q: Why did the raccoon buy Sensodyne toothpaste?
A: Because apparently raccoons have really sensitive teeth.

Q: What’s a raccoon’s favorite color?
A: Raccoons are colorblind.

Q: How big does an average adult raccoon weigh?
A: 8-20 pounds

A raccoon walks into a bar.  Bar tender says, “Don’t shoot I’ll give you the money!”  (This is funny because raccoons have bandit masks across their eyes, which make them look like robbers. And the bar tender thought the raccoon was going to rob him. But really the raccoon just wanted to order a drink).

One time I fed a raccoon a bunch of hot dogs.  

Q: How many limbs does a raccoon have?
A: Between zero and four. But usually four.

Q: Why did the raccoon remember the Alamos?
A: Because Davy Crocket had a coon skin hat.

Raccoons are omnivores and subside on both meat, plant-based food, and redundancy.

Q: Why don’t raccoons brush their teeth?
A: Because it would look like they had rabies. (This is funny because people often associate rabies with raccoons, possibly because both words start with the letter R).

Q: How many rabid raccoons does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two.  One to screw in the light bulb and one to *also screw in the light bulb.*

*edited for content

And there you have it: what I did this morning instead of going on a bike ride. Now it’s mid afternoon.

Here’s a picture of a raccoon so you have something to look at while you laugh at all my great raccoon jokes.

Gila Stages 3-5

I’m too drained to write an original post about Gila for my blog, so I’m just using the race report email I sent out to our team.  It’s been an extremely long two weeks since I left for Arkansas.  Jon, Gabe, and myself did 9 days of racing in an 11 day span, with a lot of travel before, during, and after.  I’m not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.  I also have to find some way to make enough money to go to Europe after Cascade in late July, which I have to do in the next month before the next barrage of racing comes along, starting in June.  I’m thinking of painting a house or two.

In terms of how the races went for me as a whole, I’m pretty happy about both Joe Martin and Gila.  I’m placing in the top 30 now on stages, which is an improvement on years past, and as long as the race doesn’t end with a 30 minute climb, I feel like I’m in the mix for a real result.  I just need some more confidence in cornering, positioning, and following the right wheels in the finale, and I’m confident that I’ll be placing in the top 10 by the end of the season.  Here’s the report on Gila.  Hopefully Winger will give me some pictures to use when he gets the chance.

The final three stages of Gila included a time trial, a crit, and a road race.  The team’s goal heading into these final three stages was to win all three stages, obviously.  Failing that, our second goal was to race aggressively while preserving Jon’s GC position and hopefully get a top 10 in the crit.  The time trial on Friday was a big ring type of course (as in 55 or 56 chain rings), with two semi large climbs and some nasty little rollers that made you question your desire to continue pedaling hard.  Wind is always somewhat of an issue on this course, though on race day it wasn’t too bad.  Jesse went off first, followed by Colin, Winger, Dan, Gabe, myself, and Jon.  Unfortunately I went off right when it got super windy.  Just moments before I went, my one-minute man (Gabe) was treated to a nice tail wind out AND back, whereas the wind was definitely head on for me the entire time.  And then right when I finished the wind died out completely.  Oh well.

Dan showed his time trialing prowess with the best result on our team placing 58th, followed by Gabe.  Jon lost a number of places on his GC position, though the final stage would offer the chance to right any wrongs dealt to him by the cruelty of the time trial bike.  The final day, the Gila Monster stage, would be 104 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing.  But we’ll get to that in due time.

Somehow the 36-40 minute effort of the time trial took it out of some of us more than expected and our crit riding ability the next day wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for.  Despite the tiredness some of us were feeling by the fourth day of the Gila, we prepared for the crit with fire still burning in our bellies (I had WAAAY too much yogurt and green chilies before the crit).  After an hour spin in the morning, followed by food, followed by more food, we finished off the afternoon’s preparations with an extended warm up before the downtown crit.  For some reason Colin had insisted on wearing his skinsuit, forcing the rest of us to wear our black kits.  It was 84 degrees.  I’d been planning on kitting up in my wife beater Defeet base layer and pinning the numbers directly onto that.  It was hot.  Damn you and your skin suit Colin!!!

Winger got things kicked off in style once the starting pistol went off.  He took the hole shot and got a lap off the front before the counter move took over.  Jesse was in the counter and helped drive the two-man move up the road for the next couple laps.  Not knowing that Jesse was up the road, I began my own bridge attempt and caught a guy that was in between Jesse’s move and the field, somewhere on lap four or five I believe.  My bridge mate wasn’t working very hard and we got caught by a Colombian national team guy on the short climb on the backside of the course.  He went by us and I flicked my elbow for my break mate to close the gap to him since I’d just pulled for over half a lap.  He ended up letting a huge gap open to the Colombian, which I eventually decided I’d have to close by myself.  But pretty soon it became apparent that it was too late and we sat up as the field caught us a half lap later.  That Colombian guy ended up catching Jesse’s breakaway and dropping the two of them on the climb a few laps later, at which point UHC sat up on the front and road extremely slow tempo for about 40 minutes.  Just a slight change of circumstances could have resulted in both Jesse and I riding in the break together for most of the race.  Instead, we were punished for our errors by having to ride back in the pack for the rest of the race.

With the break gone, our next goal in the crit was to position Gabe well for the sprint once the break was caught, which was inevitable with a bunch of sprint teams looking for their last chance at glory before the final day of climbing misery.

At five laps to go I still hadn’t seen Gabe for a while so I just concentrated on staying in the top 15-30, moving up on the hill and chopping people on the inside corner after the finish line whenever the opportunity arose.  With two to go I got swarmed and never made a big enough move to regain my position.  I finished 40th.  If in doubt, always use up extra energy to position yourself well.  We all lost seven seconds from a tiny gap that opened up on the finish straight.  It really was not our best day of crit riding, but we did at least give it a good shot in the beginning.

The Gila Monster: the final and most brutal day of the race, and possibly the hardest day of the entire NRC schedule, assuming you weigh more than 125 pounds.

It’s one thing to have two cat 3 climbs, two cat 2’s, and a cat 1 in a single stage at sea level, but it’s an entirely different beast when it’s all at an elevation of 5,500-7,500 feet.  Most of the climbing comes in the last 50 miles and, assuming you’ve been dropped and the team car is long gone, drinking enough water in those last 50 miles is an impossible task.

Another early morning start at 8:40 meant waking up at 6:30.  The hot water in one of the houses had been out for most of the week, which meant a lot of the guys were walking over to Tiny Allen’s and my house to take showers in the morning.  The only way into the bathroom, being through my bedroom, meant that I was always getting woken up earlier than I intended.  And I am NOT happy to be woken up 10 minutes before my alarm goes off.  Those last 10 minutes are when I usually get my best sleep.   Tiny Alan felt the same way, and got a bit of revenge on Tall Alan when he came over for his early morning shower.  Just seconds before Alan arrived at our door with his towel and shaving kit in hand, Tiny sprinted to the bathroom and took a Gila Monster-sized dump in the toilet to stink up the bathroom for Tall Alan’s shower.  I was greatly amused…and then the stench wafted into the kitchen and I lost all motivation to finish my oats.

The race started off heading east out of town with some rollers, then took a left turn off the highway into a crosswind/false flat section that lead to the first sprint and KOM of the day, both within 15 miles of the start line.  Joe had warned us of this section of road—the lead up to the first climb of the day—since it might be a good opportunity to follow moves and was at the very least, an important time to stay up near the front in order to make the selection in case any splits occurred.  We were on the lookout to get in a break since we really didn’t have much to lose at this point in the stage race.  None of us were in the top 50 GC.  I was planning on conserving until we got close to the top of the climb, and then following moves over the top and after the descent, but somehow 21 guys rolled off the front way earlier than I, or any of my teammates, had anticipated.  Not one HB rider was present in the massive move.  All of us felt pretty foolish that this happened.  Usually early aggression in such a long, hard race is rewarded by getting dropped extra early, like what happened to me last year on this stage (lots of early attacking then getting dropped on the first climb of the day).  But that was not the case today, and we missed out big time.

With the breakaway gone, all seven of us HBers focused on getting water and making sure we hit the first cat 2 climb in the best position as possible, with Jon having our most realistic chance at a decent result of the day.  Jesse and Gabe did a great job riding up near the front and helped Jon stay out of the wind.  Winger, Dan, Colin, and I got bottles from the car and in one feed zone I grabbed THREE bottles with some super fast maneuvering by Alan!

The cat 2 climb blew a large chunk of the peloton off the back.  Jon, Gabe, and I survived.  Jon stayed in the bubble without too much difficulty.  Gabe and myself came off with around 1K to the KOM, but with some hard chasing, got back into the group after the descent.  We got Jon a water and a cold bottle of Coke, yelled at him that the cat 1 climb was coming up soon, then got blown off the pack again once we hit the bottom slopes of the hardest climb of the day.  The entire peloton split at this point and Gabe and I spent the rest of the day riding HARD tempo with a group of about 10-15 guys.  I made sure to attack Gabe once or twice.  I don’t know when it was last that I spent that much time staring so intently at the hub in front of me, void of any thought and focusing only on breathing and pedaling.  It was a lot of climbing for a Bigguns!

Up the road, Jon was gritting his teeth hard to remain in contact with the main front group of 15 riders, who were making quick progress on what was left of the breakaway up the road.  Jon ended up finishing 45th, which, although not sounding particularly great, was certainly a very good result on such a hard day, especially since 21 guys were already up the road with a six minute gap before the final cat 1 and 2 climbs of the day.  Using a little bike racer math, if that group hadn’t been up there, Jon’s climbing ability probably would have earned him a spot in the top 25.  Bike racer math is often flawed though, considering the fact that it’s completely subjective.

Jesse and Colin rolled in together in a small group, followed by a solo Winger a while later, having ridden the last two hours by himself, suffering in the hot sun and determined to finish.  Dan had been struggling with stomach issues all day long and threw up three or four times during the race.  And so ended our Gila, with Jon taking 47th on GC, myself barely beating out Gabe for 77th only because he was penalized for drafting the team car for less than 20 seconds while he helped Jon get back on after a broken spoke on stage 2, Gabe took 79th, Colin 114th, and Jesse 116th.  It’s hard to look at your own personal result and think of all the hard work and suffering you did to earn such a big number, but considering the caliber of teams here and our (for the most part) aggressive racing style, none of us are too upset about how things went.  In fact, we’re all pretty content.  It was a great trip and will likely be one of my favorite memories of the year.  We shared some delicious team dinners cooked by Alan, a lot of inappropriate jokes that I can’t tell you about on this email list serve, and some good quality time flying kites on our rooftop in the hot sun up in the mountains of the Gila National Forest.  And above all, we got to suffer like only a select few in the world will ever know.  Now it’s time to rest up and began the process of blocking those memories of pain from our heads, for if cyclists truly remembered just how much it hurts to bike race, very few of us would line up again next weekend.

Thank you to Doug, our guest mechanic for Gila, for doing an amazing job on all of our bikes.  I still owe you a six-pack of IPA, though I really should make it a full case.

Gila Stage 2

Me after the race with a custom mussette bag my mom sewed last year for Gila. Halloween themed.

The Inner Loop stage of Gila is always a scary one. It start out right at the base of a cat 3 climb, a rolling, exposed to the wind struggle up to the tiny town of Pinos Altos, which is where most of our team is staying. It isn’t that difficult of a climb in terms of steepness until you get to the top, and both years I’ve done Gila, including today, I made it over the climb fairly easily (easily is a VERY relative term in bike racing). But, if you don’t make it over in the main group, you’re in for a very long day. Right after the first KOM at Pinos Altos, there’s a descent, a lot of false flat, and another short steep section that makes up the second cat 3 climb and KOM of the day. Then there’s a long corkscrew descent and a lot of flat and rolling roads before the final climb of the stage heading back to the start/finish line.

Almost half of this stage takes place on a tiny road that winds its way through some of the most beautiful and pristine wilderness in the Southwest, the Gila National Forest. The trees are too short and scrawny to be cut down for timber, there’s no large river to be damned, and the terrain is too rocky and barren for cattle pastures. This is why it’s a National Forest, not BLM land. You’d think that cyclists would have an appreciation for this type of un-raped wilderness, seeing as most of us hate the polluting car culture of America, but the amount of trash and water bottles littered along the road here lead me to a much bleaker conclusion. Even my fellow cyclists don’t really give a shit. I only have three pet peeves: 1) smashing my gum with the front end of my toothbrush and creating a sore that will last for a week, 2) people, and 3) people who litter.

It’s one thing to toss a bottle along a highway or in a town where someone’s going to pick it up as a trophy, I do that, but it’s another thing to toss it in the bushes where it will inevitably slowly break down over 1,000 years and enter the water system and give the trout a third eye. I know that probably won’t happen, and the relatively small amount of trash and plastic bottles we introduce to the environment won’t really matter that much, but it’s the principle that I’m worried about. If cyclists don’t care about the world, who will?

Very few people spend as much time as a cyclist does outside and in that in between area on earth that’s inhabited by both humans and the natural world (roads in the country). Anyways….

The race went well for some of us, not so well for others. Jon and I made it over the first KOM in great position, about 30 guys back from the front. I was hoping that it would split permanently over the top, but things pretty much all came together on the descent.

It didn’t take long for United Healthcare to continue its rampage at the front after the short respite of the downhill. A break of five got up the road, including former teammate and friend Chris Parish of Optum (former friend too—we don’t talk much anymore after he turned pro. Just kidding! No but seriously, Chris, why don’t you ever return my calls anymore?)

The middle part of the race was pretty chill in terms of difficulty and I mainly worked on staying near the front and moving Jon up whenever I saw him. Gabe and Dan were there as well, with Winger on bottle patrol and doing a fine job of it.

Things got hard again near the top of the final KOM when some accelerations were made at the front. This climb featured a descent before the descent and I’d been at the very back, peeing, right before I realized that the climb wasn’t over yet. I booked it to the front just in time for the pace to start up again.

Jon broke a spoke at the base of the descent and Gabe dropped back with him to help him get back on after a quick wheel change. They were both back in the pack pretty quickly and ready for the final 8kms, which were fast and a bit hectic up in the top 40 with constant shuffling and reshuffling at the front as guys tried to position for the 90 degree turn with 1.5K to go. I got knocked once or twice, which made me mad and subsequently not care anymore if I got bumped. A little pain makes the bull angrier.

Still up near the front and feeling “good,” it looked like I’d be entering the final turn in the top 15, then with 150 meters to go there was a big swarm on the left side of the road, causing us on the right to get pinched off and break going into the corner. Shit balls. This was exactly what I knew was going to happen and yet I didn’t move over in time to avoid it. Shit.

There’s a slight uphill drag for about 700 meters, a quick chicane to the right and then left, and a final 500 meters of flat, straight road lined with big trees to the finish line. Being too far back to contest the sprint, I just followed the wheels in front of me and closed a few gaps as I attempted to work my way as close to the front as possible. I came in 24th. Should have gone on the outside with 1.5 K to go!!! ARGHHH!!! Another wasted opportunity! I’ma tear that crit up though if I can on Friday.

Gila Stage 1

Below is the story of my journey to Gila last year. This year was pretty timid to that. Just some time in some cars and planes. As for today’s stage, we helped position each other near the front when we thought things might break up in the wind. Jon, our designated climber of the race, was our biggest priority in terms of positioning, and he ended up 23rd up the cat 1 Mogollon, a good result and well worth any effort we made to bring him up in the peloton. I finished 82nd at 5:33 back from the leader, Rory Sutherland. Aside from the deep pain I felt after I crossed the finish line, a highlight of the race for me was when I got misted by some guy taking a piss off his bike mid way through the race. I told him it tasted like he might have had some asparagus for dinner the night before. He said no, he’d had brussel sprouts.




(picture taken after a ride where I ate something with a lot of jam)

It’s 11:44 PM on Wednesday as I begin writing this.  At last I’ve reached my final destination after being on the road since Sunday afternoon in Walla Walla, Washington.  I’m precisely around about 7,000 miles away up in the mountains in Pinos Altos, New Mexico above Silver City, the host town of the Tour of the Gila.  It’s been a long voyage.  The same voyage the pilgrims made long, long ago to reach the sacred hematecrit-boosting mountain air needed to acclimate for a workweek-long stage race at altitude.  And like the pilgrims, I had plenty of help along the way from natives—to whom I probably passed on a cold virus, from which they’ll likely die.

Part One:

Sunday: The first step of my journey was the easiest.  Walla Walla to Boise.  Luckily my teammate…

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Joe Martin Stage Race 2012.

Stage one was a time trial, uphill and 2.5 miles long (aka 2.4 miles too long for my liking). There’s no bigger waste of time than racing a short prologue like this, even writing about it is less of a waste of time. You have to get to the race extra early to warm up and get ready, the warm up is like 60-90 minutes long, you have to constantly go back to the car to do things like find your ipod, talk to people in the parking lot, switch to race wheels, switch wheels cause you got a flat tire while warming up, go eat a gel, drink more water because it’s really hot out, go poop, take your water bottle cages off because that will save you approximately 1-4 minutes in weight, go poop again, take off your homemade ice vest because it has melted, put your aero helmet on because you need an aero helmet for an uphill TT where you average 17 mph, check the time, continue warming up, put the upper part of your skin suit on, which is difficult because the whole thing is soaking wet with sweat and water bottle water, weigh your bike, get heckled by the race officials about how heavy your bike is…the list goes on and on. Actually no it doesn’t. That’s about it. But it takes forever. And it’s all for less than 10 minutes of racing.

Despite the huge time chunk, and my fake complaining about wasting time (haha, like I have anything better to do), I do in fact like uphill prologues. I’m not particularly good at them, since I’m hugely obese–in bike racing you’re fat if you weigh more 160 or more–what I like about them is the opportunity to really suffer hard and turn your organs into bloody bits and chunks of no-longer-functioning dead flesh. A good uphill TT will leave you feeling as if you just swallowed a hand full of rusty razor blades. Actually, it’s the other way around. Swallowing a handful of rusty razor blades will make you feel as if you just completed an all out uphill TT.

Anyways, the last time I rode up the hill during my warmup I realized I felt pretty good. I got a number in my head for what I thought I might be able to do wattage wise. This ended up hurting my performance because I held back, still feeling really good and standing just about the entire time like former teammate Chris did last year to get 8th, until about a minute to go. The entire time I was fearing the inevitable implosion in my legs that would leave me riding tempo for the rest of the climb and losing serious time. The blow up never happened, and all of a sudden I found out that I hadn’t ridden hard enough. I go some serious hurt on in the last minute though, pumping out 646 watts during the last 45 seconds. There’s a pretty awesome picture of me passing my one minute man right before the finish line in the local newspaper. They got it all wrong though, and write that he’s passing me, and that sucks because he looks really slow in the picture. And on the next page, the section where they talk about the race, all it’s about is the road closures for the rest of the week of racing. People down here like their cars. A lot. Very few commute by bike and we’ve had some complaints from drivers about us being here already.

I finished 49th, at 8:58. Last year I was 48th at 8:59. The times were about 15 seconds slower this year, so my TT was definitely an improvement. The increased quality of field meant that I didn’t place any better though. Our two top guys placed 22nd (steve) and 36th (Ian). Then I went and sat in the river underneath the dam, where I always stand and soak my legs after this TT. This time there were some people fishing, so I asked them what they were fishing for.
Guy: “Anything that bites. Mainly turtles, I guess.”
Me: “I’ve always wondered if there’s snapping turtles in here.”
Guy: “Oh yeah, there was two big ones sitting right over there a minute ago. Bout half way between you and me I guess.”
Me: “Oh. I better stop wiggling my toes then.”
Guy: “He ain’t gonna hurt ya.”
I kept an eye out for turtles after that.

Stage 2. 110 mile rolling road race with quite o bit o wind. My goal was to either get in the break or sheppard Ian and Steve for the finish, which included two short and steep 20 second climbs and a long 300 meter uphill drag to the finish, all within the last 1.5 kilometers. An ideal finish for me, Ian, Steve, and Gabe. And David. And Danny and Jon. So basically our entire team. We were pretty confident that we could lead it out into the final two corners before the climb. “There’s no reason why we can’t be first in that last left hand corner.” We said this multiple times.

We all missed the 2-man move that went 15 miles in, then I basically worked on being near the front for the climbs and any time I thought there would be cross wind. We rode as a team near the front quite a bit, and constantly moved one another up throughout the race to avoid the chaos in the back.

55 miles into the race, in the longest crosswind section, I started following attacks. I did this until I just about blew up, then it got really strung out for the next couple kilometers. I was in some serious pain, then we finally took a left turn onto big highway and had tailwind for the rest of the race, including the upcoming 9 mile climb. I got dropped on the climb the year before, but this year it actually felt pretty chill. The first mile of it hurt, but after that there was enough up and down to recover in between the harder bits. At one time I accidentally went up to the front and got forced to follow an attack. Since I wasn’t sure how long or difficult the climb was going to be (memory issues), I didn’t do that again and just sat in the dwindling pack. Things pretty much stayed together for the climb and mostly came back together on the descent. The next 20 miles were nasty fast with a stiff tailwind. I’m not sure I ever got out of my 11. In the pack we still had myself, Ian, Gabe, and Steve. I felt great and decided that I didn’t need sleep that night, so I downed the rest of my caffeinated gel flask. With Gabe and myself, we were planning on making sure Ian and Steve moved up to the front leading into the final kilometer and I’m sure we could have had at least one of us in the top 10 had it not been for a big crash with five miles to go. Ian went down pretty hard. I slammed my breaks on as hard as they’d go. Someone behind me crashed on my rear wheel. I swerved to the left and avoided two guys that went down right in front of me. I continued death gripping the breaks as I ran over someone’s bike/a bike bounced up and hit me from the right. For a split second after that I thought I might make it, then out of nowhere I saw a guy rolling towards me directly in my path. This was it, I was going over the bars. I rode right over him, heard a small yelp as I ran over my teammate, and came out on the other side still on my bike. Astonished, I stood up to sprint and get back in the pack, but had to stop a few hundred meters later when I realized my wheel was broken. At first I thought it was flat, but got off and saw that the rim was destroyed. Completely un-rideable if I wanted to keep all my front teeth.

I ran back to the crash where all the cars had stopped and got a wheel change and finished 4 minutes down all alone.

I started writing the above a long time ago after stage 2 and pretty much lost most of my motivation by now. Currently I’m up in Pinos Altos, NM getting ready for Gila, which starts tomorrow. After a long day of travel yesterday it feels like we’re on the other side of the country now. Oh wait, we are. If you want to hear about a real day of travel, I’m going to repost my adventure down here last year. I’ll have it up tomorrow at some point.

Anyways, stage 3 was another road race. I finished 20th in a pack sprint that about 75 people were still left in. With 1K to go there was a huge pile up. Breaks were applied and with some quick and lucky maneuvering I miraculously I weaved in and out of the crashed guys on the ground (and the ones crashing all around me) and sprinted onto the back of what was left of the peloton, maybe 30 or 40 guys. I didn’t really have much left to sprint with after that and just road in hard to the line for 20th.

Stage 4 was the crit. I finished 22nd. I should have done much better on that stage since it’s so well suited to me and I felt almost invincible on the climb. Though I was strong, I was cornering pretty poorly (this was my first crit of the year) and I lost a lot of positions on the downhill, which I’d have to make up on the uphill each lap. I think I passed about 15 guys up the hill the last time. Makes me wonder how I would have done had I been positioned top 10 going into the final 300 meters.

Steve earned 15th on GC and 7th and 10th on two stages, so overall our team had a fantastic race. If I hadn’t been held up in the crash on stage 2 I would have been 20th on GC, and Ian probably would have been in the top 20 too, so it’s a bit disappointing seeing what could have been. There’s no time to dwell on the past though, at least not when you’re already at another race. It’s time to go crush it again tomorrow.