Sounds pretty official huh? Le Tour de Mont Pleasant was an awesome race in a pretty cool area of Michigan. It was also an opportunity for my to race with my full squad for the first time.
Graham Howard, Me and Dave Williams give it a go.
Saturdays crit was a nice little 75 minute affair, with a few technical corners and a long Start/Finish straight. We had 8 of our 9 guys (sans Jeremy Grimm, probably one of our best crit-ers) there for the crit and face some good numbers from Bissel and Priority Health. Kenda Pro had 3 strong guys too. We decided that we wanted to be aggressive from the start and so that's how it went down. The team rode really well, constantly shooting guys off the front looking for the right combination to form the days move. It was never to be. Greg had a nice solo attempt from 9 to go all the way to 1 to go. It took about 6 guys from assorted teams to drag him back just before the bell lap. As he came back, Graham Howard from the Bissel Pro squad attacked from right in front of me, so I wasn't about to let one of the strongest guys in the field ride away alone, so I jumped on his wheel and he dragged out a nice little gap real quick like. Unfortunately for us, Kenda kicked it into gear and started chasing us down. We were gobbled up with 2 corners to go and I jumped on the back of the Kenda mini-train but was pretty toast and had to pull off and hand it over to Paul out of the last corner. Chris and Paul chased after Renkema, but he had gotten a good jump and a great leadout and they came up just a bit short. Another 2nd place for the Panther squad. That's something like 6 in a row for us. We gotta get over that hump.
Getting the bell
Saturday night we stayed with a professor at Central Michigan University and it was plush, let me tell you. There baked up cookies, brownies, and let us have our pick of his 60 some different home brewed beers he had made. His wife made us a huge spread for breakfast and we hit the road for the start line.
105 miles were on tap, with some KOM's and some Sprint Points too. A break with lots of horse power went about 10 miles in and we only had Greg in it. Graham Howard, Rytlewski, Renkema and some other studs were up the road, so I worked for a while to try to bring the gap down enough to bridge another of our guys across. Dan Campbell made the bridge look like cake and then we were sitting a little bit better.
After an hour of riding 15mph in the field, the break had a sizeable gap, so Paul Martin got the racing started for the second time, with some solo moves. We all took turns getting guys up the road by the handful. The field was too fresh and there were too many Priority and Bissel guys who weren't letting it happen. The racing stayed alive for pretty much the rest of the day. Coming into the final corner we got our guys to the front and set Chris up for the bunch kick. We had a few minor communication issues, but those will be corrected with more time together as a team. everyone did their part and Chris took the sprint for 8th, I was 14th and Paul Martin was 17th. Once we caught up with Dan and Greg, we heard the Greg had been 2nd and Dan 4th. Graham Howard had beaten Greg after sitting on the break for 80 miles or so. Panther had 5 riders in the top 20, but once again we were just off the top step of the podium. Soon we're gonna get these runner-ups turned into victory's.
There weren't all just 2nd places on the weekend, Lauren picked up her first win in the crit on Saturday and got 4th on Sunday. Hopefully I can get some of those "WIN" things.
I'm off to Tour of America's Dairyland this weekend and early next week for a handful of races, then Hyde Park/Grandview and our to Fitchburg for finally my first stage race of the year. If you need me, you can find me practicing up on my TT bike.