This is the biggest race I have entered to date and had been looking forward to it for a month or so. 4 stages in three days in the high desert oasis Bend, Or.
Stage 1: Cascade Lakes Road race. 71 miles and a million feet of climbing up Mt. Bachelor.
This stage started out right on a climb. The pack was climbing too slow for my tastes so I moved up to the front and was just riding along and had a gap over the top. While descending the gap grew to a minute. I stayed away from the group for over 10 miles until one guy bridged up to me. Here is where I made a mistake. I started to work with this guy for a couple miles but was starting to get tired and I let him go and went back to the pack. I was tired but recovering quickly in the pack when I heard them talking about attacking through the first feed zone at 22 miles. My vote was no. When we started the climb to the feed zone I moved to the right to grab a bottle my chain dropped and it took me about 30 seconds to get it back on. By the time I got it back on the pack was gone. There was only one other rider back with me, a brave woman racing with the CAT4 men, she said she probably could not help me much to catch back on. I started trying to TT back to the group switching on and off with her and we got close but they were just too fast. I was dropped 1/3 of the way through a 70 mile race. ugh. I eventually lost my drop-mate and started catching stragglers but they were burnt and could not help chase. Basically I rode the entire last 50 miles alone. I took in a lot of scenery and wanted to jump in the lakes and streams I was riding by.
I lost 25 minutes on the stage. I had to lay down in the parking lot for about a half hour before I felt ok enough to ride the 12 miles back down to the start line.
After getting back to town I jumped in the Deschutes river. Perfect for leg recovery.
Stage 2: Uphill TT 16 miles. 8 up, 8 down.
Oh, after the 70 mile TT the day before I was not too excited about this race and it was reflected in my results. I could not get my legs to spin all the way up but still managed to catch three riders before the turn-around. Was passed by two but soon caught one back on the way down, where I felt good again and was spun out flying down the mountain. Caught a couple more riders on the way down.
I came in 5:30 minutes behind the leader in 39th place. Now 30 minutes behind on GC.
Stage 3: Downtown crit. 30 minutes.
Almost all of the races I have been in this summer have been crits since I missed most of the road races due to the collarbone break. I thought I could do well. It was very flat and very fast. through the straightaway we were going between 27-30 for the entire race. with 5 to go I moved up as best I could but I was a little late in my move because it took me 4 laps to get near the front. In the last turn there was a crash right in front of me but I avoided it and stood up to sprint but could only manage 15th place. My best placing of the race by over 20 places! A Seattle guy won this Crit, Rob McDaniel. Nice work!
Stage 4: Awbrey butte Circuit Race: 51 miles and another ton of climbing. DON'T GO OFF THE FRONT IDIOT! that is what I told myself over and over. I stuck to plan. There were 2-3 punchy climbs and 2 longer climbs of about 1/2 mile each. first two laps were uneventful but we kept dropping people on each climb. by the time we were on the last lap the lead group was only 15-20 people. I almost crashed in the feed zone by crossing wheels with Rob(crit winner) but I was able to stay up due to unclipping and we were going about 5mph. The small group was still together until the top of the final KOM when a junior jumped and got a small gap, he was reeled in shortly over the top. the climb started to stair-step up-up -up and I made it over all but the last step. there were about 10 guys up the road and 4 in the group I was in. My legs would not go any more, and neither would anyone in the group. we would almost bridge up and then the lead pack would drop us again.
with 1k to go I stood up and started to feel better, I passed 2 of the people in the second group but could not get around the final guy.
I finished 15th place, 30 seconds behind the leader.
In the end I finished 30:46 behind the winner and 44th. A disappointing result indeed. Without the 25 minute loss from the first stage debacle I would have been near the top ten. A hard lesson learned.