Check out this SICK video Ian made of him and I making some sweet as B-ball shots. We’ve been honing our skills since we got here on Monday afternoon, and as you can see, our skills have been quite honed if I do say so myself.
Please watch the video, as we’re hoping to get at least 50 views on youtube for our sponsors.
Anyways, in regards to the stage race I’m at in Bend, Oregon, I think I left off after Stage 1 slash the second day after the prologue. That day being a Thursday and the day of the time trial. I sucked SO badly in the time trial that I’m not even going to post my result here on my blog. It was the final straw though, I VOW to practice my time trialing this winter if I’m to race in the States next year, because there’s no reason a guy my size should suck this badly at time trials. I’m pretty sure I’m faster on my road bike, like Ryan Trebone, who rode on the tops of his bars on his road bike and still beat me.
The day after the TT was Friday and we raced the New and Improved Cascade Lakes stage. 92 miles in a little over 3 hours, which was fast but not that hard until the final 20 minutes. Instead of starting down in Bend and climbing up to Mt. Bachelor, then descending and doing a loop around the backside of the mountain and finishing up in the Bachelor ski resort, the new stage had us start already up in the ski resort parking lot, so we started off with a cold descent. I did not like this, as it made the stage much easier than in prior years and there were a good 40 or so more guys in the field to deal with, possibly making things a bit sketchier but also leaving everyone with fresher legs for the finale. There was a terrible vibe going on the entire day, with a lot of scary, nervous riding that ended in multiple pile ups.
Half way into the race when the breakaway had been established due to the peloton recently taking a pee break:
Kennett: “Gabe, let’s move up in case there’s a crash.”
Gabe: “Okay. And sorry for anything I might have ever done to displease you. Also, I’ve never killed a fly.”
4 minutes later…
Kenda guy: “Looks like it’s gonna be on laundry cycle all day.” (Referring to guys constantly moving up on the sides to get to the front during times when they didn’t necessarily need to–probably because they didn’t want to crash and thought that the front would be safe like I did).
Kennett: “Yeah. I just don’t want to crash right now.”
Kenda guy: “You and me both.”
11 seconds later…
Kaboom. Big old crash right in front of us. I applied my brakes to full, skidded to a stop, unclipped, went around and sprinted onto the back of the 30 or 40 guys up the road that were congratulating themselves for being in front of the crash. The pack rejoined pretty soon, though, and everything was good and right again in the world. 20 miles later my tire, which had a giant patch of missing rubber due to the skidding, blowed up. I got a wheel change from a different team since team manager, Alan, and mechanic, Doug, had just stopped in the team car to take a pee. The guy failed to close the quick release all the way. I chased on with the help of our team car and slowly began making my way to the front again for the final climb of the day. I entered a bit too far back. My legs still felt pretty good. I jumped on the Sam Johnson express for a second or two at the base of the climb while he briefly led a teammate of his. I came off when my rear wheel did something that felt weird. I sat down and kept going. I stood up again hard a few moments later as the climb got steep. The rear wheel jumped big time and almost came out. I did a front wheelie and nearly came off the bike. I cursed, realizing what the problem was. I re-accelerated again this time, deciding I’d just sit down for the whole climb. 30 seconds later I felt that I needed to stand up and make some ground if I wanted to get in a good group for the flatter part of the climb. I attempted to stand up but do it super slowly, hoping that the wheel would stay in place. It did another big jump, with me doing another front wheelie. This time I let out a huge F bomb as I realized I needed to get off the bike and fix the problem, or crash. I stopped and tightened the quick release, which was just dangling at this point. My day was pretty much over and I sulked by myself to the finish line, brooding over the incompetence of the guy who’d changed my wheel. It’s not like I could have won on such a long climb, but a top 40 might have been doable.
Today (Saturday) was the crit. The team met up for a nice coffee shop spin in the late morning after we all finally got some actual sleep (10 o’clock starts mean we have to get up at 6am every morning). Today was a 7pm crit. After coffee, Ian and I shot the video that I know you watched and loved. While Ian edited the video, I watched three episodes of Testees. Colin “slept” for six hours and emerged from his room looking dehydrated and shameful. There were new blisters on his palms that he denied were new.
The crit: it was hard and fast. Ian crashed again. After a little under 75 minutes of racing I ended up 52nd, which was by far the best I’ve done in this crit, but still far from being good. I should have moved up more with 7 or 8 laps to go. Shoulda woulda coulda. I didn’t do it and paid the price by being stuck too far back. I just needed to be more of a dick I guess, and cut more people off in the corners. Jesse and I frequented a fro-yo establishment on our way back home for some samples.
Tomorrow is the circuit race, which is by far the best chance I have, or any of us HBers have, of getting a good result at this race. There are a couple steep, short climbs that hurt like hell. It’ll be good. Cascade always starts with around 200 riders and finishes with like 90 because that last day is just pure torture.