Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rocky Mount Stage Race

Fresh Cat 5 Racers before the start of the Cat 5 Road Race

 This weekend as a big weekend for some intense cycling I entered the Cat 5 Rocky Mount Stage Race to compete for the GC (Grand Contender) as the best overall rider which consisted of 3 races over the weekend of a 31 mile road race, 5 mile time trial, and a 30 minute crit race. I love riding my bike and I've been doing pretty well riding with the "Pain Train" in Tyler on Tuesday night' has given me some experience riding in a big group at a fast clip.  I rode with Matthew Ramirez over to Louisiana we had a good trip and discussed a few tactics.

We had about 30 riders total in the road race for the most part I stayed in the top 15-20 riders, probably a little further back then I should have been. I tried to keep myself nearby and protected by Fresh riders. The overall pace felt pretty slow for me the most part, but I also knew time trialing it on my own I would probably get pulled back in. At 15 miles I did  go off on my own just for a little bit after this big hill as I unintentionally got out of the pace line somehow so I went to the front had rode off. I wasn't pedaling hard and put a good size gap but saw them coming back I knew the Fresh team would be trying to slow the pace down for me but against everyone else it would be too much.  About 5 miles out from the finish somehow Me, Brian Phillips, and another guy started leaning against each other - I thought was going down. Somehow we miraculously all stayed up right and avoided a crash. I had already crashed the week of  in a training ride and didn't really want to go down (again).  Closer to 3 miles ago Darrell Allen comes by and starts rolling up to the front and I get behind him to get closer to the front to plan an attack. With a mile to go I'm thinking about going off the front but it was an uphill finish, maybe I was incompetent in my abilities. Then I saw the 1k sign and Matthew Ramirez comes by me and says "We gotta go now." I jumped on his wheel but somehow Jonathan's rear wheel got caught in my front skewer and broke his spoke. I eventually got around and rocketed off the front. I though I had won the road race at first but heard someone had got away that I didn't know about it. It would be Whit, who finished just 8 seconds up. Whit got a 10 second time bonus and I got a 6 second time bonus putting me 13 seconds behind.

4 hours and 2 hamburgers later it was time for the 5 mile Time Trial. I had no idea how much time Whit had on me at the time before the TT. The Time Trial course was mostly downhill and flat the first half then all uphill the second half. I knew he was a bigger guy so he had a better chance at putting time on me on the downhills and I had a better chance of putting time going up the hill, but I haven't been too good at climbing lately so I had to dig deep on this one. I put the hammer (feet) to the pedals and dug deep, I kept telling myself it was only 5 miles and counting down the miles. We got to the turn with all the hills for the second half and I was hurting quite bad at this point and also I was feeling (tasting) those two hamburgers I ate earlier and pretty close to hurling them up as I they tasted like throw up. I made to the top of the hill and finish line in 11:22 and 25.4 mph. I found out later in the day that I had regained the lead for the GC by 1 second, gaining 14 seconds on the time trial.

Receiving some unclear instructions about the prime. 

The 30 min Cat 5 Crit race would be the next day.  Matthew and I departed from Tyler again at 4:30 a.m. the next day (that means I started getting ready 3:40 a.m. Sunday morning and had my breakfast to go). We were one of the first ones there and got several warm up laps in to study the course so we would know all the turns. I knew what I had to do and that was to stay behind Whit and just come around for the finish...easier said that done. I even put my Shama Cycling socks on for the crit.  Matthew led us out the first lap or two before Whit put in an attack.

First couple of laps with Matthew leading the way.  

I jumped on Whit's wheel and Gerrit also on the same team as him was trying to keep me off of it. I had to fight hard to hold my position on his wheel even flicked him a little elbow when he got to close for my comfort. The first prime was merchandise and none of us knew about this prime, we all through it was for time which is what we cared about. I swung around Whit, but it was too early and he was able to pass me and he also rode away after that and opened a huge gap that I couldn't close even with some help. We all agree we wish we had known about this prime because it wasn't posted in the "race bible" (instructions). 

A few laps later the next prime was up, the real one for time. I came in second here as you see but was pretty whooped at this point and trying to hang on.

                                                                         2nd and 3rd battle for one of the primes. 

   Just before the last lap I was leading the back and then the bell rang and David and Gerrit came around me and I didn't have anything left to hold their wheel. I came 4th in the crit and second in the Cat 5 GC.


It was a triathlete sweep, 1st Whip, Second me, Third Gerrit in the Cat 5 GC.   

 This was my first ever road race, I'm not sure why it took me so long to try one other than my stubborn triathlete state of mind. Thanks to the God for keeping us safe out there especially with all the close calls from the road race. The Fresh team for helping me out and teaching me how to be a smart road racer and helping protect me and during the road race and Matthew during the crit. Also to Cobb Cycling & the Cobb Mobb team, Extremus, & X-1 Audio. Also to my supportive family my parents, Wife, and Rylan. It was a fun time and it is TBD how serious of a road racer I will become...

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