Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bicycle, Blues, and BBQ Festival

I had a great time at the Bicycle, Blues & BBQ Festival in Clear Lake, IA this past weekend. Tim Putnam put on two excellent races and the crowd at the criterium on Saturday night was exceptional. The crit had a very professional feel to it and I think the racers really appreciated all of the hard work and effort that was put in to create the event. I had quite a few racers say to me "Wow, you're from here? This is a cool little town!"
I had me some tasty BBQ brisket and listened to a really talented Blues band, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, on Friday night. I got to see tons of friends and family who live in the area and came out to Clear Lake to watch the races.
The Saturday crit went well, we narrowed the field of 50 down to 7 riders containing teammate Nick Frey and myself with a few early attacks. With 10-12 laps to go, I attacked hard and the other 5 riders responded but then Nick counter-attacked and went solo for the win. It was a good day and everything worked well...though I should have worked harder to get on the podium.
In the road race, I was feeling good and very motivated to win. It was a frustrating race because there were a lot of talented, strong riders in the field but they all seemed to be waiting and reacting rather than racing. That's fine, I can totally understand their reasoning but I let myself get frustrated (and a little bored) and so attacked solo with about 45 miles remaining in an 82 mile RR. I really thought that as good as I was feeling that day they would never see me again. First mistake: pride/ego. The field worked well together and kept me within 30" for about an hour. I finally gave up the fight with 15 miles remaining since my back was tightening up badly and I was completely out of water. As soon as the field caught me, there were numerous counter-attacks but the majority of the field was still happy to sit in rather than race for the win. And then I started to feel sorry for myself thinking about how thirsty I was and how I was starting to cramp up and blah, blah, blah. I took it upon myself to keep the breakaways close to give Nick a chance at the sprint but I really didn't fight for the win. In a way, I just gave in to the whiny voices in my head. I'm really not proud of the way that I raced the last 10 miles of that RR. Looking back, I think that if I would have continued to fight and attack, I may have changed the outcome. As it was, Nick sprinted for 3rd and I didn't even contest the sprint due to being boxed in and then having someone pull out of his pedal right next to me. Congratulations to FasCat athlete Gregg Brandt who placed 2nd in the crit and won the road race in an exciting sprint! I'm disappointed in the race but mostly due to the mistakes I made. If I am fortunate enough to come back next year (which I really hope my schedule allows) I will just hope and pray for 30 mph winds in that road race!
Anyway, it was a great weekend of racing and I had a blast. Plus, I was reminded of how hard this sport is at this level and that you have to keep fighting no matter what. A big thank you to Tim Putnam, Monson and Sons and all of the other great sponsors who helped create the event.
Now it's on to the Boise Twilight and the Cascade Cycling Classic. I've never done the Boise Twilight but I've heard it's a fun race with a good atmosphere as well. And of course, I love going back to Cascade for the beautiful courses and to see how big the Sheasby kids have gotten. ;-)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Tom. Your description of the road race reminded me of a few years ago when a "local"(notorious for racing his own way and style) got tired of the pack, for similar reasons and took off;ran out of water, and got caught by you. Thanks for coming back to Clear Lake and bringing along a few extra racers with you.
Sometimes, better times collide with now. I know that you will time trial to a win or two yet this season.
From all the locals who support and believe in you.
Nocturnal gravel grinder off to Zirbel slough via a full moon

Anonymous said...

I think it's obvious that a group would do more "reacting" than "racing" with 4 domestic professional racers in the pack. They're strong. Period. Naturally that will happen regardless of the race.

I think there was quite a bit of racing going on, to be honest. A group of amateurs holding you at 30 seconds and a few legitimate breaks. That took some serious stepping-up to pull off.

Overall, it was a great race despite a few hiccups. Your teammate got 3rd when he could have had the win. He decided not to work in the break. That's racing.

I hope you and your team can continue to jump into local Iowa races in the future. It makes things fun and interesting...but I think it's un-fair to request that we act as though you aren't a threat in a road race. Obviously you're strong. That's why we follow this blog.

Geezy said...

I think if your team mate Nick Frey would have worked with a break vs. saying that the other riders need to take 'bike racing lessons' he could have one the race. I think you raced like a man in an iowa race and motivated everyone in the group. I really appreciate you coming to the race, but next time, maybe, Nick should stay home. I am good friends with Lee Venteicher and I was talking about how exciting it was to be pulling Tom Zirbel back to the group. I am glad you are back in the pro's and good luck in the future. Any time you come to Iowa races I will happily sit on your wheel (maybe you should talk to Frey about his ego).

Will

Geezy said...

wow I can't believe I said 'one' instead of won, oh well I guess that is what happens when you are still angry about a pro's racing style (not yours).

Will