So this weekend I traveled to my first two races of the season. I races in Louisville KY on Saturday and Cincinnati, OH on Sunday. I've been putting in some good hours on the bike this spring, but haven't done much to get myself in race shape yet. It jump is slow and the numbers for my short intervals are pretty low. So this weekend I just wanted to go out and get in some hard efforts and test out the legs a bit. I have trouble racing for training and not caring about the result, but I know I can push myself harder when there's something riding on it, so I gotta wrap my head around it.
Saturday I got near Louisville and was greeted with a pretty steady rain shower and temps in the mid 40's. The course was a nice rolling circuit of just under 2 miles with nice smooth pavement. I was the only Panther/RGF guy in attendance (they were off winning in Ohio), and there happened to be 10 Texas Roadhouse guys that showed up. I knew how the race was going to go once I saw the turnout, but I couldn't get myself into that damn break. I raced as hard as I could trying to follow everything and cover the barrage of attacks from Roadhouse, but it wasn't to be. A group of 3 got away about midway through the race and the field pretty much shut down until the last 3 laps or so. The Roadhouse was getting greedy and rying to get more guys up the road. So I burnt my last few matches trying to keep them from getting the whole squad off the front and when the sprint came, I rolled in mid-pack. No result what so ever, but I got a good hour of self abuse and also set a new PR for 10 minute power at the start of the race, trying to make that inevitable break. I did feel better about the "pack finish" once I saw I had done some decent numbers and my fitness was ok considering the time of year.
Pre-race with Chartier, Renkema, and the Nuvo crew
Awesome picture of Chartier's late race whack
Sunday was a similar sized field of 30-35 guys, but the course was a flat, 10 mile loop with 4 corners and long straights. It wasn't really windy, but you could definitely feel it on some of those exposed roads. We did 6 laps of the circuit and I determined to make this a bike race and not a group ride. With no selective sections to be found, the stronger guys had to just keep attacking until the wheat and chaff were separated. It took a couple laps, but we finally got a nice split with pretty much all the guys that I would have hand picked for the break even before the start of the race, plus a few others I didn't know. They were all pulling through, so they're welcome to come along too. After we got the break established, like really, established. Like we-took-a-pee-break, established. It was time to figure out who was going to win this thing. I didn't like my odds in the 9 man group, with Aaron Hubbel of Nuvo(plus 2 teammates) and Ben Renkema of Kenda Pro Cycling. I knew both of those guys can pop off some pretty good sprints, so I would have rather gotten a split without them, but they did a good job keeping it together. I threw the kitchen sink at them for a while, hoping something would materialize, but no dice. Former teammate and host for the weekend Chris Chartier took off on a nice solo move with 1 to go, that he almost stuck thanks to some disorganized riding from all of us in the group. He came back with about a a mile and a half left to go and the cat and mouse started. I though we might completely stop and start the sprint with one foot down. Luckily someone jumped and it was on. I was trying to watch the guys I knew could sprint and was able to stay out of the wind and take the sprint for my first (although small) win of 2009. I'm not going to post a picture of the victory salute because it was so windy that I almost got blown over when I put my hands up. I look more like I'm about do the Y-M-C-A than I just won a bike race.
Me about to unleash my goofy looking victory salute
So this weekend was fun and a nice test, but I've still got a long way to go until I'm ready for the real stuff to start. I've got a pretty solid week of training in front of me, and my first ever bachelor "party" this weekend. Also, congrats to my teammate Jeremy Grimm for taking home his second win of this season this weekend. Thanks for reading.
Photos courtesy of Jeffery Jakucyk