Monday, May 01, 2006

yes!....crap!...phew!

Ahhh! Back to society again. We've just been roughing it deep in the Shenandoah mtns for the past week. We stayed in classic summer camp cabins with bunk beds and the whole works. We did have such amenities as running water and electricity but were without essential cell phone reception and internet access. Thus, communication was difficult and updating blogs wasn't happenin. So, I'll try to overload you with pictures and stories to make up for the void. First off, we went 1st and 3rd in the prologue to get things rolling. It was a very high pressure situation 'cause Mark (our director) made it clear that he wanted the first position in the caravan that only comes with 1st place on G.C. So we had to dig a little deeper to appease the "slave-driver". Later that night, we successfully defended our G.C. and U23 jerseys (Brent)without much trouble but got shut out in the stage placings which is pretty much unacceptable considering the talent level of our team. I definitely didn't spend enough time up front during the race which always a weak point of mine. The highlight of the crit for me was going for the mid-race time bonus while trying to knock out the peak 1 min. power "Power Preme" that was worth 500 bones. Both ended up working out but was small consilation for bungling the finish as a team. In Stage 3, Eddy, Jake, and Graham all got themselves in a break and were able to gobble up the KOM points while Brent, Sheeds, Scott, and I were trying to make to make it over the climbs with the lead chase group. As the breaks started flying in the break, Eddy was able to hang on and deliver with a much needed stage win after our crit performance. The time gap from the break ended up being enough for Eddy to pull on the leader's jersey. 2 days, 2 leaders, same team - not bad so far! Stage 4 contained a huge cat. 1 climb in the middle followed by a cat. 2 climb near the finish. We now had 3 protected riders: Eddy, Brent, and I which made it extremely difficult on the remaining team members: Scott, Graham, Sheedy, and Jake. During the race, we were all near the front of the group heading into the cat. 1 climb when I flatted. Jake was nearby to give me his wheel so that I didn't lose toooo much time but I think I need some work in quick wheel changes. I set a hard tempo up the climb and tried to slowly pull back the leaders while passing dudes all along the way. I was probably within 30 seconds or so of the leaders by the top so I decided to take some risks on the decent in order to make up some time. So, because I'm tired of telling this story: I crashed on a decent and got a mild-concussion. The conversation I had with our mechanic Ben right after was kind of comical. My end went something like: "What race is this? What state are we in? Who's in the leader's jersey? Eddy? Really?!?" So, my race was over as Ben hauled me off to the hospital. I came out pretty good actually with a mild concussion and a little road rash on my face. My back and neck are pretty sore but nothing too damaging. 2 lessons came out of this event: avoid racing with triathletes at all costs and don't put someone behind the wheel of a car in the caravan without any experience or instruction. Okay, so at that point Brent and Eddy were on their own and after all the attacks were said and done, Eddy found himself in the lead group again with the same opponent. This time, the Fiorda Fruita dude got the best of Eddy and he ended up 2nd on the day but retained his lead by 15s. After this stage, Brent was 4 min. or so back on G.C. so we were basically down to one option. For Stage 5, we decided we would try to get Brent in a break to get about 3 min. so we could have 2 options coming into the TT on Sat. Well, he got into a break, but because of a communication breakdown, the break was able to get 4 mins. on Eddy's group and as a result we relinquished the G.C. lead to another team! Not the way you want to go into a time trial. So, it was clear what we had to do now: put a massive amount of time into the lead G.C. guys in the time trial. Easy enough, eh? Well, it ended up being (looking anyway) that easy as Brent scorched the course to put 70+ seconds into 2nd place. After the TT, the tension on the team was released like a giant exhale and all was well. We even cut loose a little Sat. night even though we still had to defend in the crit. After a glass of wine, 140lb Jake became a singing and dancing wildman that had people rolling all night. The crit was exciting to watch as Graham did some superhuman efforts and Scott continued to amaze. The little blonde freak was a super-domestique in his P/1/2 debut! That's another thing: This was such a great team effort from everyone involved. It took great riding from all 7 guys in the race and UNBELIEVABLE support from Mark and Ben to pull this victory off. I wish everyone could witness how hard Mark and Ben worked for the team this past week. It was astonishing and invaluable. Speaking of freaks and support, Brian Sheedy is the man. On very little training, that dude was able to dig deep everyday and somehow find the reserves to help out the team to the utmost. It was inspiring. So, I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to help the team seal the deal those last 3 days but I'm just glad we pulled it out. Winning is fun. My legs are feeling really good right now and if I can take care of a few crash-related issues and figure out what's been bothering my knee, I should be keen to do well in the USA Crits coming later this week. You can follow us at www.usacrits.com , I believe. Brian and I will be reunited with the crit boys who have managed 2 top tens and several top 20s at Athens and Roswell. Nice work, fellas!
Check out the pics below.
Scar Face



This pic doesn't really do it justice, but this is the e.r. parking lot with scrapes and dried blood on my face - mullet still intact.

Eddy getting aero on a spider - during post TT celebration time.


Brent's podium pic with other jersey holders - doesn't he look fast?!?
Jake living up to his namesake after consuming the amount of wine produced from 2 grapes.
Graham spending time in his favorite place: the break. This was during the 2nd critJake in a break later in that same crit. Shortly after this photo, Jake unleashed what was deemed "The most vicious attack of the race"

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome win. Great riding 'er befor eyour crash. Nice time trial.
I watch the races every week usually everyday you guys race. Shenandoah did a good job with updates some races are very slow to update to web pages. It sometimes takes days to find out how you guys did. Keep flyin' we'll keep watchin'
Don

Sara said...

I was worried. Thank god the mullet's OK though. Oooh, that reminds me. I'm gonna dig up some photos...

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