Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tour of Knox County

It was so awesome to get my head back in the racing game. At the start it was like old times immediately. Get good position, be ready, decide if this or that move was worth going for. After my team mate Josh Halvax bridged up to an Iron City beer rider and Steiner went with him, then Brian bridged up I was on easy street. Follow some wheels, but stay hidden from the wind and keep thinking :how do I feel?

I intentionally kept the pace slow the first time up the 200' 1k climb that we had to do 10 times!! I lead us up the first few laps at a comfy pace. I think come Malabar that pace will be laughed at and the fireworks will come flying, but seemingly everyone was happy with it so slowly we climbed. I have had little to no training the last 3 weeks so I was in safety mode.

But I learned pretty quickly that I was actually going alright. So when Brian  did his thing and left the remnants of the break after the climb and started to disappear Josh and I started riding tempo and threshold pace the whole time at the front to keep attacks at bay. I rode what in most cases would be called stupid, taking long, long pulls at the front, but I considered it the good team mate thing (in the US Postal/HTC way) AND the good workout thing. I figure I have to race myself into shape with limited training time so ride a bit harder than would be best.

Josh and I had a mid race meeting at the front while we bottle necked thepack and decided to just control the race, but when Dave asked for the gap to Brian one lap a spectator said "about 3 minutes" Josh and I waited till 5 to go then started attacking and counter attacking each other to try and get a 2nd break going. I had visions of soloing in for 2nd, but I honestly didnt have the jump or the power in my legs. That and i felt too marked to get away. My slow jumps also met quick reactions by the group.

I planned one attack all race long. Up a leg breaking rolling uphill section after the downhill switchback turn was where I planned my attack. I went up the right side and a Panther rider bridged up, but I didnt have it and we got pulled back. It sure was fun to try though. All of the attacking took its toll and the field started to whittle down a bit. My legs also were taking a beating and I couldnt do the last pitch of the climb. So that was more motivation to break away. I knew I had nothng for a bunch sprint as it was at the top of the climb.

Another fun attack I planned was on the main climb. With two to go I stayed in the big ring when I  usually went to the small ring so I could accelerate in the flat in the middle. But I had to back off as we were in with the Cat 4 finish and I was interfering with a guy trying to com in 3rd. But I got a small gap, but again it was short lived. From there Josh and I decided to stop attacking and to not try and chase the Panther rider by ourselves. If other teams didnt want to assist in bringing back 2nd podium spot, we already had the win.

On the final lap Josh had me watch John and he stayed with Brent the whole last lap. I also knew Jason from Spin would light it up the climb as hes got a whicked uphill acceleration, but I knew he would wait. And John did make a move before the climb (setting up Brent?) and I covered it and started the climb 2nd wheel untill Jason attacked hard. I got going, but then both legs started cramping on the final pitch and I had to sit down and a lot of guys passed me. Josh did as planned and followed Brent as Jason's attack faded about 200m before the line.

Brent lead it out leaving Josh to jump him to win the field sprint!! All in all a great way to start the season.  A very on form Brian got us the win in a big way and Josh took 3rd. I had a blast racing hard and trying to race to my few strengths that day. I got a good workout in and some confidence that if I can stay healthy and start some specific workouts I will be alright. I really thought I would have been dropped yesterday before the race started. I am far from fast, but I did alright.