This may have been the longest I’ve waited to write a race report. Because of that I’ve forgotten most of the memorable events and jokes that took place that week. Since my return home I’ve been busy being sick while in the midst of settling into our new apartment, my new job at Amante, our new puppy Maybellene, and a fresh new outlook on life. Ha. Just kidding I’m still just as dead inside as I was before. There’s nothing like an NRC stage race to crush your spirits and erase all hope of future happiness. Luckily the fix is easy: Dairy Queen.
Once again I was fortunate enough to guest ride with Horizon Organic/Einstein Bagels. The team:
with Nick Traggis directing
Photo: Cheryl Howard
Photo: Cheryl Howard
After a huge amount of preparation and stress, the 4 and a half minute effort was over in roughly 4 and a half minutes. I paced myself well and saved it for the last two minutes of “uphill” to finish 32nd out of the huge field of 212. I wasn’t ecstatic about my performance but given how I’ve felt during the training leading up to this race, I wasn’t upset either. Mac was 29th and the rest of the guys were somewhere really far back, like 5 seconds or so. It’s good to remember that prologues don’t mean shit in terms of the overall GC.
Photo provided by Whit Bazemore Photography
We missed the breakaway that went on the short climb heading up towards Bachelor. Despite the uncomfortable pace at which we rolled out of the parking lot, it would have been the easiest stage to make the break. By mile 2 it was gone. I spent the rest of the day fetching water and positioning the guys in the scrum line behind the leader’s and other important teams’ trains. None of our guys crashed in the many dumb pile ups, which were mostly caused by large motor homes and other cars that were only partially-pulled off the road on the left side.
I was just a few guys too far back to make the lead group of 40 the second time up Bachelor and I got gapped and popped with a little over 3K to go. So close, yet so close. I was gobbled up by a large chase group and came in 50th something.
Fabio and Emerson had been in the lead group and were therefore still in GC contention, making the team’s day a success.
Another time trial. Moving on…
Stage 3 was similar to stage 1 but the opposite direction and started down in Bend. Mac broke his collar bone and Jackson broke his bike in the crashes that marred the beginning of the stage. We were neutralized for a few minutes so the officials could make it look like someone gave a damn about our safety, then we were released. Who are they trying to fool? We don’t even give a damn about our safety!
Man I sucked after that. I got dropped before the plateau near the top of the climb, meaning I had the fitness equivalent to what I had in 2010. I was pretty pissed off about how shitty I was riding and contemplated just veering off into the ditch, or better yet a cliff. No cliffs could be found.
A large chase group of 50 guys formed around me. I was annoyed with the urgency at which they rode, as if we could actually catch back on. The peloton was out of sight and I was ready to just pack it in with the broom wagon. Instead, we caught on shortly after the descent.
I was more than content with being a team helper again for the rest of the day and set about getting water, making fun of Tim Rugg, and positioning the faster guys on our team near the front, using my bulk to block the wind and knock over any BMC devo bitches that dared take the wheel. Actually there are quite a few bigguns’es on that team as well.
In a similar fashion to the other Mt. Bachelor stage, I got dropped with 3K to go. The climb was easier today since it was more stair stepped and gradual with a head wind, but it hurt just the same. Fabio and Emerson both made the front group, but we still didn’t have a stage result to facebook about. Would tomorrow’s downtown crit be the day?? **Dun dun duuuuunnnnnnnnn!!!!!**
No. It would not.
Downtown crit, same as usual except counterclockwise. None of us did much except sit in. Kit attempted to finish in the top 20 (and did), but the officials decided to bump him back to 170th after he took too long in the pit when his chain broke earlier in the race. Note to Kit: don’t pedal so hard. Who are you trying to impress anyways?
This was it. The last stage to make something of ourselves. Either get in the move or get dropped. I was off the front in some promising attacks, and felt fairly good finally, but nothing stuck until the 4th lap on the feed zone climb. I was too far back to be in the mix on this occasion. A lap later (the final lap) I was once again too far back on the same climb to make the front split of 15 guys with the yellow jersey. Classic being too far back and having shitty legs.
The break stuck and I came in 30th, 46th on GC. Emerson and Josh made the front split but we didn’t have anyone in the move. The team’s weekend was somewhat salvaged by Emerson’s 20th on GC, but we’d wanted more than that. A stage win, a top 5 GC, or one of the jerseys. At least some time in a break. Instead we broke bones (Mac), bikes (Jackson), hearts (Jackson again most likely), and finished mid pack. Such is the life of a bike racer. You must be a master of failure to succeed.
That’s all for now. Once I’m over this cold I’ll be back to training like a mad man. This year’s not over yet damn it!