Thursday, August 27, 2009

Racing Week August 17 - 23, 2009 - Utah part 1

Tour of Utah Week, the big race I've been anticipating & dreading for many weeks.

Monday - woke up at 6AM, out the door by 6:30, picked up Jim Wingert in Davis around 8AM & drove to SLC. Arrived at the Prologue course around 7:30 PM and rode the course a few times.
30 min ride, then went to the Rossi house where we'd be staying for the week.

Tuesday - while the rest of the guys went for a ride, I tuned up my bikes and rested, trying to get over the lingering symptoms of my cold. I thought my prologue would be around 6:45, but when I arrived at the course around 5:45 I discovered that my start time was 6:17. I didn't get much of a warm-up, so a 2.8 mile race was a real shock to the system, that and the altitude. I thought I rode pretty well, coming in at 6:57, when the best riders were only about 40-45 seconds faster. Turns out a lot of riders finished in that 45 seconds and my time was only 132nd best. I knew it was going to be a long week. (about 45 min total riding)

Wednesday - First real road race Ogden to Salt Lake, with 2 Cat 1 climbs in between. This race didn't start off super fast. I thought it was odd seeing Zabriskie spending most of the early race in the back 10 with guys like me, but he knew how to move up when he needed to. I didn't have too much problem staying with the pack on the 1st Cat 1 climb or the following descent, but was not positioned too well when the 2nd climb started and too far back when the gaps started opening up. I rode with a few guys on the following descent, but ended up on my own over the last 10 miles and finished solo in 89th with no one within over a minute of me on either side. I finished 89th and moved up to 89th in GC. (3:31:13 stage time)

Thursday - Mt. Nebo. - 60 miles flat followed by a 20 mile HC climb. As soon as the neutral ended we were going full gas due south for miles & miles. Problem was the wind from the east. Guys at the front were trying to break away & Rock & the other teams were chasing everything down, so back in the last 25 spots where I was, it was just pedal as hard as you can with your head down, trying to ride on an inch of road and hope the pack would eventually slow down. At 1 point there was a crash about 20 riders up that I was able to avoid, but after hitting the brakes I saw a large gap open up. I chased as hard as I could for about 2 minutes, then was about to give up thinking my race was over when a small chase pack with Ben Jacques Maynes & Floyd Landis went by. I was able to get back on this group and get a ride back to the safety of the peloton. A little while later a break was established and we made a turn into the wind, so it became a lot easier to sit in and wait for the climb. When the climb came, I was again in a bad position near the back of the field, but that didn't matter too much. This was a 90 minute, do it at your pace climb. I went hard, but held back a bit since I didn't want to blow up. I again finished solo, this time in 71st and moved up to 74th in GC. (3:17:34 stage time)

When we returned to the Rossi house they had prepared an incredible pasta dinner for the team and we surprised them with how quickly we ate everything. One thing about this trip was that I was eating a lot more than normal.

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