Sunday, June 17, 2012

O'Fallon Grand Prix weekend

So last weekend was so tough for me I was thinking I was going to take the weekend off. Most of my friends just laughed at me. Turns out they know me pretty well. I raced every day, and it all went pretty well.

Friday was the first running of the OGP's time trial course. It was a great course. I have only ever done an out and back TT. This was more of a lolly pop, or a butcher knife shape maybe. It was also rolling, not as bad of climbs as Hermann but there was one that almost cooked me late in the race. As I had only ridden for 45 min this week, just finished building my TT bike earlier in the day, and had planned on not racing at all, I was going to take it easy-ish. I wanted to keep my power just around my FTP which for a 13 mile race was a little low. Chris and I met at Mesa and drove over to get ready. This was Chris' first TT attempt ever and I was thinking he was going to crush just about everyone. Chris' specialty is going fast and hard for a long time. A friend of the shop had even lent him his bike. Chris and I set up our new team tent and trainers. As would happen with a new bike, I had a horrible warm up. I was having to fix something just about every couple minutes, shifting, computer, position. So I was just going to "wing it". Chris and another teammate Jason went off about 20 and 30 min before I did. Jason came in just as I was heading to the start and he gave me some great intel on the course.

I started great and was able to keep myself in check not pushing it too hard. I set my computer to just show me my power, time, and heart rate. I figured this would just keep me pushing long and hard. (that's what she said) Around half way I spotted a rider up the road and this gave me a great carrot to go after. It almost cooked me going up the course's only hard climb trying to close the last few yards I had to the rider. Once I was to the top I reminded myself to back down to a steady wattage and tried to recover as best I could in a TT. I finally hit a good enough downhill section that I coasted for a few seconds. This might have cost me 3rd place but if I hadn't rested I might have blown it also.

I finished with what I thought was a great time for me, 30:29 over the 13.1 mile course. As I got back to the car Chris was really unhappy though. Turns out a volunteer on the course was reading a book and did not tell him where to go at one of the turns. Chris kept on going down the road for a ways before he realized what had happened. It was too late though and his race was over. Now I know all about volunteers, I use tons of them. The gymnastics meet I put on uses hundreds of them. But being a volunteer doesn't mean you don't do your job. If you don't want to do the job, don't volunteer. In my opinion they should have refunded Chris' money.

The next day was the OGP road race and IL state road race. The course isn't too tough, nothing like Hermann or Ste Genevieve, but still there was nothing close to the turn out as at Hillsboro. You would think that for the chance at a state title more boys from Chicago would want to come down. Those that did made for a good race however. The title was contested over 70 miles of twisting winding roads in some of the hottest weather we have had so far this year. With a race of this difficulty we needed a lot of support, and boy did we get it. All of Mike's family, Brian's girlfriend Cece came out to hand us all (8) water, food, and ice. Without their help we would have gone all of twenty miles and burned up. For real they made it all possible. Our plan was to get Mike to the line first and the best way to do that was in a sprint. So pulling on the front all day was in order. This was my kind of ride! We were also lucky to have our new cat 3 and cat 4 state road race champ Grant Erhard riding with us. He was very much needed and flexed his muscles plenty working for the team. We all worked together perfectly and stepped in for others when they were tired. I wasn't able to ride in with the team, I burned all my matches keeping thing close for Mike. But when I was gone the rest of the guys were there to pick things up. The rest of the guys were able to get things lined up for Mike and Jason Murphy powered Mike all the way to the line. The one snaffu was Mike wasn't able to sprint around Jason. Yeah Jason is that strong! Jason ended up winning the race and Mike took 3rd in IL. Jason was pretty upset at himself, he thought he had screwed up by being too strong.....umm nope. Mike was super happy with how the team had worked and we were so pumped for the win and 2 guys in the top 10!

The last day of the series was the OGP crit, a ten turn course in downtown O'Fallon. They made a small change to the course that I think made it much better, and safer. The team goal was similar to the O'Fallon Cup race about a month ago.  All I asked the guys was I wanted to sprint sometime during the race. So just a few laps in they called a preem and I was one rider behind Mike getting ready to jump. There was one very fast rider in front of me from Rhythm Racing. I thought it was a good test to see how my working on my sprint was coming along. As we came around the final turn Mike started to pick it up and I was able to get a very good jump and was almost able to beat the Rhythm guy to the line, but it wasn't to be. Later in the race I was able to pick up a Helmet preem with the help of Mike again. As the race progressed things got tough with guys trying hard to jump off the front again and again. Our team was pretty tired and we weren't able to put in as hard of breaks as we wanted, but we were able to make a lot of the other riders and teams work and tire themselves out. As the end of the race came closer things were getting sketchier and I didn't have the gas to get to the front to help the guys so I sat up with 4 turns to go and soft pedaled back in. We finished up great though with Wulff taking 2nd and Mike coming in 5th.

Murphy and I were feeling pretty cooked and Mike wanted to spend time with his kids and family on Father's day, so Wulff was the only one to jump in the last race of the day with Bj and Mark.

The Pro 123 was stacked with some strong teams. Our guys were going to have a tough race. Right away the teams were on the attack and things split quickly. Watching the race we were pretty pumped that Wulff made the selection of 9 or so guys. Every team had at least 1 guy in the break, most had two even 3 maybe, I can't really remember. Only a few laps after the break happened though I think Devin jumped and got a split. This really hurt our man in the break a Dog Fish rider, and a Harley rider. All three fell off the pace but Wulff and the Harley rider were working hard to catch back on. A lap or so later however the Harley rider was able to use Wulff to shoot himself back up to the break and Wulff was spent. That was the race. With all the teams in the break there was nothing our guys could do. Not that they didn't try though. Mark and Bj both gave a shot or ten at bridging up to the front. With all the racing in their legs from yesterday, Bj 70 miles in a break, Mark working hard for 2nd in IL in the RR! They just weren't able to make it.

The end of the race was a bunch sprint for the break group. Casey from Dog Fish took the win, but the crazy thing I saw was a Harley rider went down at the last turn. I don't know what happend but he jumped up grabbed his bike, threw it on his shoulder, and ran all the way to the finish beating the rest of the pack! That was awesome!

In all it was a great weekend for the team again. We are really gelling well and we are only getting stronger. This next weekend I am heading up to Wisconsin for ToAD. I am spending 7 days there and wish I could go the whole time but my brother-in-law is getting married so to central Illinois I will go.

My new TT bike, I like it!

No comments:

Post a Comment