Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hillsboro Roubaix

Last week Mathgeek and were sitting down after dinner one night and she asked me when my next race was. week? I thought we had it figured out that I could travel for Hillsboro Roubaix and the Tillis Park Crit in St. Louis. I had it all scheduled out but I forgot that it was the end of the quarter at Mathgeeks job. She works a ton of extra hours, usually all weekend long, and then most of the week. For the most part I'm a single dad for a week which is usually not a big deal. So with a child care issue I first figured I would just take the kids with me but that wouldn't work with soccer, scouts, and a puppy to care for. So we figured a workable solution would be for me to leave late Friday night and drive till I pass out. Next I find a place to sleep in the van, get up in the morning, and drive to the race. Once the race is over, hop back into the van and get back home. Did it work, yep, I'm still alive and I was gone just over 24 hrs door to door. So I bet your wondering why it was so important that I went to this race, why not just blow it off? The Mercy team race schedule has one race per month that the riders have to travel to. I made the commitment to the team to be there for the most important races and they are investing in me.
So on to the race. Hillsboro-Roubaix, nestled 50 miles NE of St.Louis this race course has some bricks instead of cobblestones but the real challenge is the broken roads, rocks, and gravel on the roads. The Mercy crew lines up with 9 guys and a plan to make sure that we had a person in every break and keep the rest of the team near the front to cover any moves.

The first lap of the race was pretty sketchy with 100 guys on really narrow roads. On top of those issues we also had to deal with some pretty strong winds all day. The first lap we were constantly on the brakes and not 10 miles into the race I found myself off the side of the road avoiding the guys that had stopped in front of me. Here I was, dead last in the first 10 miles! Luck for me the field wasn't going that fast and I got on pretty quick. I figured I needed to get to the front so I put my cross skills to work and rode the gravel on the side of the road a bit to make my way up to the front. When I got there I looked up the road and it looked like 6 or 7 guys were off the front of the group and there was a red Mercy jersey (Brad)in there.

With a Mercy jersey in the break the rest of the team got on the front of the group and set the pace and chased down any potential groups trying to bridge to the breakaway. It was all good until we hit a section with a long hill and a heavy head/cross wind on the 2nd lap. Someone punched it and soon we were all in the gutter and hanging on. Most of the team made the split but unfortunately, I did not. I thought my race was over but I kept fighting and got into a group that was chasing and after 10 miles we caught the main group.

At this point we are on our last lap and Brad's group is down to 5 guys. No problem, they had a huge lead and wouldn't be caught. Job done for the Mercy crew! But now the group is getting antsy and with all the wind we are constantly in the gutter and flying. Then the catch happens and we slow down. The attacks go, we suffer in the gutter, and then they come back. About half way through the lap Adam covered an attack and they just kept going. Shadd and I were on the front at the time and covered the counter attacks and Adams gap grew. About now I had a huge brain fart as I was going through a rough patch. We were absolutely flying, single file, in the gutter, and I was going as fast as I could go..........and I ended up on the wrong side of the split. I guess I had my focus on staying on the road and failed to notice that there was a split. I tried to get a few guys together to chase but most of them were getting popped off the group and were no help. John Schottler (Big Shark) from Columbia was riding strong and we got really close to the group but just couldn't get back on. We never gave up and rode in with a group of 5 to the finish. 

Overall I would say that the team really rode well this weekend. Some of the guys are riding really well right now and most of us are gaining form every week. The next major target is a month away and I think the team will really be riding strong by then. As for results...Brad 4th, Adam 8th, Shadd, Jason, were in the top 25, I was 36, and I'm not sure where the rest of the crew finished. 

Today was the Tillis Park Crit and I think the boys got 2nd and 6th. More on that later.....

Race Photos from Smugmug Photography, nice album of photos from the race. If you were there you should check them out.

Shhhhhh...........could there be a new shop dog at TREK KC?

Here's Carly checking out some Shimano shifters.

So while the team was out racing in the ridiculously windy conditions I was busy chopping down 4, 12 ft pine trees and digging out the stumps. The boys had fun helping, JoBro really liked using the chainsaw and axe. Not too surprising that Mathgeek was not excited about that at all!

Time for bed! I'm all ready way late for my new bed time. I've figured out that sleep deprivation has become a major issue with my recovery. See ya!

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