Today was the 30th running of Snake Alley in Burlington, IA. A few guys from the team and I traveled up here Friday and we were pumped for the race. If you call yourself a serious racer and you have not done this race, and you live in the Midwest, then you suck! This race is awesome, epic, classic, horrible, hard, and beautiful.
Friday we took a look at the course and road part of the road course to get the legs loosened up from the four hour drive. I was feeling amazing! There was pop, speed, and I also fet the Snake was nowhere near as hard as I remembered it. I told the guys I was going to have a good day.
This morning we took our time getting ready and reached the race around 11am. We went on a long warm up riding for about and hour and a half. My legs took longer to break in today but my everything looked good by the time we lined up for the start. I was 210 putting me on the second row, as they have call ups for this weekend's races. I had a great starting position on the left of the road and the rider in front of me left a wide gap for me to get through at the gun. I was in 3rd or 4th when we hit the snake and I knew if I took the short route around all the turns I would move up fast. It didn't make a lot of the other racers too happy, but I got there first, and rubbin is racing right....? When we hit the top I sprinted for a few meters and then got aero taking time on everyone else. I actually slowed down to let everyone catch me as I didn't want to battle through the flats on my own. The next few laps went well and I help my position comfortably. I was alway trying to remember to downshift in the small ring before even hitting the start finish so that if I had any issues I could fix them before the hill. About 4 or 5 laps in I forgot however. About halfway up the Snake I felt like my legs had turned to shit and I needed about 5 more gears. I look down and I'm big ringing it and I am losing spots fast as well as energy. By the next time up the hill I was done, I had nothing left having put it all on getting up the last bit of the Snake. I pulled over on one of the switchbacks and I couldn't see straight, couldn't talk, breath, even think. After a few minutes I walked the rest of the way up and a nice man helped my with water and ice. That was really nice as I didn't even realize how overheated I was until I started cooling down.
I watched a little bit of the rest of the race trying to cheer on my teammates who powered through placing 17th and 25th. It was a hard, hot day, and just about everyone suffered a lot.
The only positive I can take from today is that I have two shots tomorrow. I tend to push myself harder after a bad race as well. I don't like to quit and I have been able to dig a little deeper after a bad day. Tomorrow is Melon City, not an easy race by any means, but something I can handle a little better. I'll let you know how it goes.