Yesterday was the first race of the season for those in the St Louis area. Froze Toes is a 30 mile loop just outside Columbia, MO hosted by the CBC crew. They did a great job getting this race up and running this year. They had about 2 weeks to get it all worked out and really I had no idea, that is how hard they worked on getting it all put together. There isn't much in the way of climbing on the course and unless there is a lot of wind it is a pretty straight forward race. Guess what, the wind showed up in a big way.
Most of my team (Bj Keane, Kent Woermann, Jason Wulff, Eric Finks, Me and Jose Bugarin) were in the Cat 1,2,3 field. Dog Fish had brought a huge team with many more heavy hitters that we had, as well as Mercy. I lined up late and was at the back end of the field. I didn't think this would be a bad thing though as it was going to be a long race and there would be plenty of time to move up. Boy was I wrong! A group attacked what felt like at the end of the neutral role out and the field was being blown up right away. I was messing with new equipment for most of the time before the race so I didn't get a good warm up in, so I was hurting bad only 5 miles into the race. At one point I was scared that my race was going to be over right then. Thankfully I was able to catch back up thanks in part to teammate Jose. Once I was able to catch up I found Kent and BJ and it was quickly decided that we couldn't just let the break go up the road without trying to bring it back. So we made our way to the front and started to pull hard. After a while it looked like we were pulling back the lead group and I was pretty tired so I thought I could move back in the group to get a little rest. I think I went to the front again at one point to try and help again but was not as helpful this time. After that time I moved back on the wrong side of the group and was in the wind and could not get out of it. Soon after I was gapped and hurting bad. That was only 18 miles into what would turn out to be a long day. After a few miles of recovering I started to chase hard again. The peleton wasn't that far ahead yet and I thought if I got lucky and they slowed I could make it back. A few of us started getting together and we started to chase pretty well. It never got together good enough to pull back all the way though. We chased for 30 miles before I couldn't do it anymore and blew up. The last 12 miles of the race was torture, limping back to the start in 30+ mph head wind.
I think it was a pretty tough day for a lot of people though. Out of the 60+ starter only about 25 finished I think.I was in the bottom three though :-) but I was glad I didn't give up and it was a pretty good hard workout.
I think I made some tactical mistakes in this race and to race against some of these guys who have so much more power than I, and more experience, I was really going to need to be on top of my game and be in the right place in the group. I still have a long way to go to be a 2, but I have a whole year to learn and get stronger.