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. ;-)