Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eugene Celebration - Briggs Hill Road Race

My goal today was to try and help my teammate out as much as possible...with finishing with the pack the next goal.

The race was 57 miles and had two climbs for each lap (a 3 lap race). The first climb was at my limit for what I can sustain with other climbers and the second climb had the top part of the climb over my limits with about 3/4 of a mile being around 10% average grade.

The first lap went well...I felt comfortable for the whole lap but did get dropped on the second climb. However, there was a steep downhill just after and I was able to latch back on fairly quickly.

On the second lap, just after cresting the first climb we were going downhill at around 35 mph. Apparently a rock was bouncing around in the peloton and I was in the back of the pack...the last rider to hit the rock popped it up and it clocked me square between the eyes leaving a nice little divot in my nose which lead to a little bleeding along the way.

The rest of the lap went much like the first lap. I got dropped on the second climb, but was able to latch back on, though this time it took a little longer as the pack attacked a little on the downhill.

At the start of the third lap I still felt OK...but heading up the first climb I faded back a little too far and a gap formed between me and the main pack. The next thing I knew I had the wind in my face and I was falling back. I hit the downhill with everything I had trying to latch on...but my teammate who was in second had an opportunity to jump from the field forming a 4 man break...which caused the rest of the peloton to attack. I was chasing at speeds anywhere from 26-40 mph and not gaining any ground. I was trying to catch drafts (though not jumping in behind them) off of cars and still couldn't make a dent.

By the time I made the turn heading to the second climb I had lost about a minute. From there I decided to shut it down and ride tempo in hopes to save some energy for the ITT and crit tomorrow.

I haven't seen the results posted but it looks like I finished about 8 minutes behind the winner...and my teammate who took 2nd on the stage. I don't know if we dropped anybody else during the first two laps...which I think we might have...but I'm pretty sure I was the last guy across the finish line in the 3's.

I was hoping to finish with the pack, but I knew I was going to struggle a little on the climbs...which eventually bit me. It's hard to say how the crash two weeks effected me during the stage because overall I felt like I had good power, I just don't have good power/weight ratio right now and had I been able to keep my regular training schedule feel I would have been a bit stronger and 2-3 pounds lighter. Spending 4 days on the couch the week before a stage race isn't really helpful to keeping weight off or keeping your fitness.

I feel pretty good though and hopefully will have plenty for the ITT and crit tomorrow. I'd like to make some time up tomorrow if possible, even though I know I'll still be low in the overall standings, and if I can get my sprint on...maybe able to do well in the crit.

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